Hohoe, Jan. 13, GNA - Over 2,000 bags of cocoa beans valued at one billion cedis bought from 30 main societies and 60 agencies in the Volta Region have not been paid for since December last year.
Mr Kwesi Bediako-Addey, Volta Regional Manager of the Produce Buying Company (PBC) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Hohoe on Friday. He said the inability of PBC to pay for the produce was that cocoa farmers in the area had resorted to smuggling their beans to Togo. "Front men of the smugglers are always seen parading the villages with sacks to buy fermented cocoa beans at cheaper prices," Mr Bediako-Addey said.
He therefore, appealed to the management of COCOBOD to release money to effect payment of cocoa beans bought by the company. Mr Bediako-Addey was optimistic that PBC could buy more cocoa during this year's main crop season than what was purchased last year. Mr Kwame Agbley, a Chief Farmer of the PBC said farmers were finding it difficult to pay school fees of their wards due to the long delay in the payment of cocoa beans bought by the PBC.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP) has directed COCOBOD to liaise with the Licenced Buying Companies (LBC's) to effect payment of cocoa bought throughout the country.