Cocoa farmers say they have been treated unfairly by COCOBOD
Address issues regarding our pensions immediately, farmers to COCOBOD
60% of cocoa farmers in Ghana are poor, Research
Members of the Ghana National Cocoa Farmers Association (GNACOFA) boycotted this year’s farmers’ day celebration following what they described as the Ghana Cocoa Board’s (COCOBOD) failure to address their concerns.
According to them, COCOBOD has over the years, not heeded to calls to address their concerns even after incessant calls on them to do so.
They also accused COCOBOD of not using harmful chemicals on their farms without any prior consultation.
National President of the Association, Stephenson Anane Boateng, in an interview, said: “We have boycotted the celebration because the kind of treatment we get is not fair to us. We’ve sent them a lot of petitions. We’ve written to all the authorities but nobody has said anything and even there has been no reply. COCOBOD contracted some of our people to do mass spraying, they used chemicals that have affected our people, and they are not being taken care of. COCOBOD has not provided them with medical care. It is just bad.”
According to research by the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA), Ghana is estimated to have 1.5 million cocoa farmers, of which 60% are poor; although prices of cocoa have gone up significantly in recent times.
Recently, cocoa farmers threatened to protest over the implementation of the cocoa farmers’ pension scheme by withholding produce from markets.
The government launched the scheme to provide guaranteed retirement benefits to over 1.5 million cocoa farmers across the country.
But the farmers are kicking against the scheme’s implementation and have questioned the composition of the board used by the Ghana Cocoa Board to carry out the program.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his remarks during the celebration of the National Farmers Day in Cape Coast commended farmers for their critical role in ensuring food security in Ghana.
He further outlined various steps being taken by government to solve agric sector challenges and create a conducive atmosphere for booth farmers and fishermen to thrive.
The theme for this year’s 37th National Farmers Day celebrations was “Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating food system in Ghana”.