The President of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA), Richmond Frimpong, is urging cocoa farmers in the country to immediately disapprove of the government’s free subvention.
This is to register their dissatisfaction with being cheated by the respective authorities in their commitment to serving the nation.
“Despite huge efforts from the government, we only see little impact on these smallholder farmers,” he said. “Furthermore, Cocobod thinks of production increase without its corresponding increase in gate farm price and this has positioned the bean producer at the bottom and often living below the poverty line”.
The concerns follow several complaints by the bean producers that, they are getting less from their huge investments year-on-year.
Mr Frimpong pointed out that after decades of these interventions across the cocoa sector, cocoa farmers are still battling to get their farms sprayed on time and at other times, many are left on their own.
Mr Frimpong has observed with keen interest that poverty is a daily reality for most smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana.
It is against this backdrop that the National President of GARDJA wants the government to scrap all interventions and give the farmers a fair deal for their sweat and investments.
To him, the government should prioritize the needs of the bean producers before things get swayed.
Speaking at the 3rd National Delegates Conference of Ghana National Cocoa Farmers Association in Tarkwa in the Western region, Mr Frimpong charged the government through cocobod to consider his plea and purchase a bag of cocoa for ¢3,000.
“With this adequate and fair deal for cocoa farmers, they would now have the capacity to maintain their farms without the government necessarily coming in with any social interventions and subsidies.
“Through that medium, those offering their cocoa farmlands for illegal activities may desist from such practices and also attract the youth to assume the full obligation of farming too.
“Since the ageing cocoa farmers’ ratio looks very scary for the country’s cocoa sustainability agenda, this would even save the country some funds and give huge relief to the government in trying to get inputs for farmers always.
“Again, if no one is profiting and milking our farmers, it will help end the annual ritual of smuggling the government’s subsidised inputs meant for these same farmers.
“The challenges facing the cocoa sector remain as large as they have ever been, since the majority of cocoa farmers are still living in a stream of poverty, with all interventions being rollout by the government of Ghana,” he stated.
Mr Frimpong is afraid that “without a living income for the cocoa farmers, we should not reckon of achieving sustainable cocoa production in the years ahead”.
He observed the move by cocobod to replant some aged cocoa farms through its rehabilitation program in the Western North region seems to be failing, as the majority of the farms have not been planted yet.
“Yet, cocoa is only an international commodity that government has absolute control over it, and has been depending on it for its yearly syndicated loans,” he stated.