The Ghana Cocoa Coffee and Shea-nut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) has appealed to the government to bring back the Akuafo Cheque System to protect them from cheating by unscrupulous purchasing clerks.
Receiving payment for cocoa sold to the licensed buying companies (LBCs) through the bank, they said would also enable them to secure loans from the financial institutions to procure vital equipment and inputs to maintain their farms.
Nana Kwaku Duah, the Offinso Municipal Chairman of the Association, said that would additionally help to stop the rising theft of cocoa beans in the farming communities.
The call for the reintroduction of the Akuafo cheque followed a meeting of the farmers held at Offinso.
It provided the platform for them to discuss the challenges in the cocoa industry and how to increase production and returns.
Nana Duah urged the strengthening of the cocoa mass spraying exercise, an intervention, they said could tremendously assist to boost crop yield.
He asked that the mass spraying of farms was completely de-politicized – to benefit every farmer and the cocoa industry.
He complained about experiences in the past where the spraying gangs would not touch the farms of some people because of their perceived political affiliation and said that chapter must be closed.
Such discrimination was unhelpful and counterproductive to the national effort to raise cocoa production levels, he added.
The Chief Farmer also called for the regulation of the importation of fertilisers and pesticides to make it easier for them to get these inputs. He said everything should be done to ensure that these inputs were readily available and affordable.
Nana Duah said they were confident that the government would give priority attention to the development of the agricultural sector – to make farming attractive and more rewarding.
That, he indicated, was the way forward to entice the youth into farming and bring down the high employment among them.
Mr Gabriel Tetteh, Municipal Cocoa Officer, advised the farmers to adopt improved farming techniques to increase the per hectare yield of the crop.
He reminded them to stick to best practices – proper fermentation and making sure that the cocoa beans were thoroughly dried before being sold to the LBCs.
The farmers later elected Nana Andrews Takyi Badu as the new Municipal Vice-Chairman of their Association.