Cocoa Farmers fight COCOBOD over fertilizer
Some cocoa farmers in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region are accusing COCOBOD officials in the area of hijacking fertilizers meant to be distributed to them free of charge for their personal benefits.
Hundreds of cocoa farmers in more than five communities in the district including Kobeng and Seidi have been affected.
Chief Farmer in the Kobeng Community, Akuamoah Boateng told Joy news’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo the issue has become a source of worry for them. He is worried the unavailability of the fertilizer would increase their production cost. He says they are being treated unfairly.
“Not even one bag of fertilizer has been brought here despite other communities in the district receiving it. But we all know fertilizers are important if we would get good yield”, he said.
In previous years, the fertilizer was subsidized for them. But for the first time this year, COCOBOD is distributing it free of charge.
According to COCOBOD, about 1.6 million bags of fertilizer are being supplied.
Though cocoa farmers in some other communities in the district have benefited from the free fertilizer distribution programme, these farmers have been denied their share on the claim that their farms are infected with diseases.
When contacted, district COCOBOD officials insisted the farmers will not be given their share until they cut down their cocoa trees and re-plant.
But the farmers dispute the claim that their farms are diseased. One of them, Abena Manu who has been farming for more than 30 years insisted their farms are healthy. She questioned why even last year, COCOBOD bought cocoa from them if their farms are really diseased.
The farmers claim the COCOBOD officials are trying to “steal” their fertilizers to sell and earn money. Issah Moro questioned what would become of the fertilizer allocated to them if they are not distributed.
“They want to sell our fertilizers and take the money”, he claimed.
The farmers are threatening they would find means to smuggle the cocoa out of the country to go sell in Cote d’Ivoire for a better price if COCOBOD continues to deny them the fertilizer. They have also indicated they would demonstrate if their grievances are not addressed.
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