The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will require all licensed buying companies (LBCs) to adopt the use of electronic weighing scales in the purchase of cocoa beans from cocoa farmers, starting October 2020.
The regulator wants to avoid the potential for purchasing clerks to cheat cocoa farmers at the point of weighing the dried cocoa beans by introducing electronic scales.
Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Operations, Dr Emmanuel Opoku said that the new scales would be adopted by the LBCs, adding that the board was taking every necessary step to defend the interest of cocoa farmers.
A meeting organised by Send-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, was held. The discussion was to deliberate on the important issues relating to cocoa production.
They discussed key cocoa sector issues, and expect to develop a road map that will bring the necessary changes to ensure that farmers are main beneficiaries.
According to Dr Opoku, the organisation was in the process of starting a cocoa management system to assist in the coordination of value chain activities in the sector.
The system would register all cocoa farmers into a database, collected in six districts as part of the process to pilot the cocoa management system.
The Chairman of the Cocoa Abrabopa Association, Mr Ismaila Pomasi, who spoke on behalf of cocoa farmers, said that the government must ensure that all LBCs used electronic weighing scales. They had a suspicion that many had adjusted their weighing scales, cheating the hard-working farmers out of their earnings.
A study conducted by Send Ghana attached below, titled: “How does farm gate pricing affect the welfare of cocoa farmers” showed that there is a perceived weighing scale adjustment fraud at the point of sale of cocoa beans.
The study, suggested COCOBOD strengthen its surveillance and intelligence work to decrease considerably fraud related to the adjustment of weighing scales by some purchasing clerks at the time of the sale of dried beans.
Furthermore, the study recommended COCOBOD publish information related to the setting of the annual cocoa producer price each year after it had publicly announced the new price through the media.
The Country Director of Send-Ghana, Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, stated that the NGO had been working with the various relevant institutions and interest groups to ensure the improvement of Ghana’s cocoa farmers.
He asked COCOBOD to strengthen its public education on the processes involved in the determination of local cocoa producer prices.