Cocoa farmers have appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to appoint a Minister for the cocoa sector.
They said this was the way forward to bring more efficiency into the organization and management of the cocoa industry – the mainstay of the economy.
Nana Kwaku Duah, President of the Offinso Municipal Cocoa Farmers Association, said the present system, where a Chief Executive Officer, “virtually runs the show” had not been the best and must end.
He made reference to the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) era, where Dr. Isaac Adjei-Marfo, was made Secretary (Minister) for Cocoa Affairs and said things worked remarkably well for the both the farmer and the nation under that arrangement.
Speaking at a meeting of the farmers in Offinso, he also called for the government to discontinue the free supply of fertilizers to them.
Nana Duah said it should rather take steps to reduce the price of fertilizers to make these affordable, so that, they could buy and apply these at the right time for optimal cocoa yield.
He complained about the situation, where the free fertilizers from the Cocobod come in late – defeating the very goal of the otherwise laudable policy.
He wondered how anybody could apply fertilizer on their farms when the rains had ceased and expect to achieve a reasonable increase in crop production.
The farmers additionally asked for the re-introduction of the “Akuafo Cheque” for payment of cocoa by the licensed buying companies.
That, they said, would help them not only to save money with the banks but to also check the theft of cocoa beans.