Cocoa farmers would in the coming months receive payment for their produce via E-zwich. The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems is spearheading this after discussions with COCOBOD.
The initiative is expected to enhance and revolutionize the purchasing process in the cocoa industry.
According to GHIPSS, the E-zwich mode of payment should also minimize challenges faced by the farmers such as loss of their monies in the use of physical cash.
The CEO of GHIPSS Archie Hesse tells Joy Business, all is set for a smooth implementation.
‘From the roll-out plan, sensitization is about to be carried out for all Licensed Buying Companies (LBC’s). They have all been written to and they are going to come out with a whole program for that. So sometime by the end of July the whole sensitization should be completed.
‘What we are saying is that, if each purchasing clerk needs about 400 cedis every week, once all the necessary reviews have been done, you then work backwards from purchasing clerk to the district manager all the way to the LBC. The LBC will then send the funds directly unto the E-zwich cards of the purchasing clerks on weekly basis as agreed and once that has been done the purchasing clerks will then have to go to a neighboring bank to withdraw funds and then pay the farmer. Volta Region for example has started so we are going to see an increase in the number of payments being done in that regard’ he noted.
He added that measures are being instituted to ensure a successful exercise.
‘Phase one of the project will mean that the purchasing clerk will collect cash and then pay the farmers. Phase two will be that, instead of paying the purchasing clerk you pay directly to the farmer but before we do that we want to ensure that when the farmers receive their funds on the E-zwich card, they have enough bank outlets. We might also have to do it within communities, ascertain the economic activities and institutions there and ensure that they have points of sale device so that the farmer can go and shop. The various depots would also have a database of cocoa farmers and their E-zwich card numbers. So as soon as you see the name, you just pay the farmer,’ he concluded.
The initiative is part of moves by GHIPSSS to encourage the use of electronic transactions and thereby achieve the country’s aim of developing a cash-lite economy.
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