The live threatening of cocoa purchasing clerks in their various societies in Ghana continue to be a major concern to deal with whenever the cocoa season is opened.
In recent years, there has been robbery case targeted at these purchasing clerks and their district managers with huge sum of money lost by the various cocoa licenses buying companies (LBCs) and affecting their operations negatively to the realization of Ghana’s recognition as the world second cocoa producer.
This call comes as result of the attacks on some purchasing clerks in the Ashanti and the Western regions and taken away thousands of Ghana Cedis from them. The purchasing clerks also known as “Collectors” or “Cocoa Krakyefo” in the Kwaebibirem Municipality of the Eastern region made this when the media visited them to express their views on the recent happening in their work.
Automated Platform calls
“In fact our lives are seriously at risk in this season because most of the people we live with know us to be the “collectors” and enough of money comes to us any time the cocoa season is opened and plan evil against us”. I was attacked in my own house and some belongings were taken away but thank God I am alive today – Alex Budu of Akim Ntronang recounted his ordeal.
I wish the Ghana Cocoa Board and the various License Buying Companies would automate the payment system of the cocoa beans we purchased from the local farmers in our societies. He cited some automated platform like the Mobile Money, E-zwich and bank cheques transactions to ease their work in the handling of the huge sum of monies and save their lives as well.
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Speaking to other purchasing clerks in the Akyem Bomso, Abaam, Asuom, Atobriso and Abodom they also narrated the same situation and made a call to the appropriate stakeholders to automate a payment platform for the cocoa beans they purchased to save their lives and families.
“We always have to play some tactics to blind those who target us anytime we visit the district managers for cash to purchase cocoa bean in order to be safe and continue to gain our daily source of bread” – a “collector” bemoan.
The situation is worrying and something must be done to save our lives and families because we have become robbering target to many bad people in our communities.
“I was in a shock mood for a whole day when it was announced that my colleague purchasing clerks and district manager have been attacked in the Ashanti and Western regions recently – Kofi Takyi recounted his feeling when the news broke and he calls on the License Buying Company he works with to enforce a platform to automate payments.
Given us training in the use of IT tools in the purchasing of cocoa beans in our societies can reduce the risk we are associated with in the daily discharge of our duty. Cocoa Krakye Tettey, made the suggestion when the reporter visited him to get his views on the rising matter. “Now computer software are constantly being developed which can also help us in this automation system and bring sanity to our work.
Farmers Concern and Reactions
An encounter with farmers who are key stakeholders in the production of cocoa beans also revealing some concerns and reactions to the reporter that is affecting their daily operation in support of the government agenda to promote cocoa production and meeting target sets for a season.
Some of the concerns raised were lack of extension and technical support in their farm work, lack or inadequate loan facility to maintain or expand their farm operation and the most affecting canker to them is the adjustable scales used by some of the societies purchasing clerks to purchase their cocoa beans.
The farmers, therefore, is calling on the government, the License Buying Companies and other stakeholders involved in the cocoa value chain to respond to their calls and make the necessary efforts to address them. “For instance, when an extension officer visits my farm he assesses it and provides technical knowledge to enhance my production but here is the case he is absent, my farm suffers” – a farmer complained.
They are calling for digitization of the weighing scale for weighing their cocoa beans to ensure a free and fair price and purchases. “64 kilos of dry cocoa beans is for GHC 475.00 but we end up selling 70 kilos or more for that amount due to the adjustment of the weighing scales and something must be done.
They also suggested that they have now come to know that the cocoa farming is a business that one has to look at critically in order to be successful and there is the need to have a Farm Business School where they can be trained to document production cost and analyse their profitability at the end of the cropping season.
Reporter: Abass Iddrisu
(Agric and Rural Development Journalist)
Founder, Greeners Foundation, Ghana
+233246631963 / +233241811564
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