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Cocoa farmers lament poor sales

Oct. 18, 2016, 4:02 p.m.

Some cocoa farmers at Suaman Dadieso in the Western Region have expressed concern about the alleged inability of Licensed Buying Companies (LBC's) to purchase their crops resulting in pilling up of the product in their sheds.

LBCs are limited liability companies which are issued with dealers licenses by Cocoa Board to purchase and evacuate cocoa to the designated take over points.

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), normally secures syndicated foreign and local loans also called seed funds and gives these out to the LBCs to purchase cocoa from the farmers.

Under the internal regulations in Ghana, LBCs are required to purchase a minimum of 2,000 tonnes of cocoa.

According to the farmers the failure of the LBCs to purchase their cocoa beans consistently for some time now, was a source of worry to them.

They suspected that government or COCOBOD had not released the seed fund to the LBCs to purchase the products.

The farmers have allegedly threatened to smuggle their harvests to Ivory Coast should the government failed to rectify the situation, since they need money to send their wards to school.

When DAILY GUIDE called the District Chief Executive for the area, Joseph Betino for confirmation or otherwise of the allegations, he cut the line after listening to why the paper called him.

Further efforts to contact the DCE again were not successful as his phone was switched off.

Meanwhile, a source from COCOBOD has claimed that there had been persistent reports over the past weeks from the buying centres of the inability of the LBCs to pay for their purchase.

The source, however, alleged that sufficient funds had been released to all LBCs currently in the field to pay for their purchase.

“At a recent visit to the field by officials of COCOBOD revealed that some of the LBCs were heavily indebted to the farmers. The Board finds this sad situation unacceptable since it is causing a lot of concern and anxiety to the government and untold hardship to the farmers.”

The source noted that the performance of some of the LBCs called for a review of the licensing policy.

“COCOBOD may consider the institution of a reward system for LBCs which perform satisfactorily to serve as an additional channel of motivation to encourage others to strive for excellence.”