Parliament has summoned officials of COCOBOD to respond to allegations by NDC MP for Buem, Kofi Adams that Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) in the cocoa sector are carting cocoa from farmers without paying.
This follows a directive by First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu in response to a statement by Mr Adams on the plight of cocoa farmers in cocoa-growing areas in Ghana who have apparently not been receiving their payments.
Mr Adams statement was titled: “The Plight of Cocoa Farmers in the Buem Constituency Despite $1.3 billion loan facility to the Ghana Cocoa Board.”
According to Mr Adams, reports from his constituency and other constituencies in the cocoa-growing regions has it that, cocoa farmers have not been paid by LBCs for their cocoa purchased in the last two months even though they are in the third month of the main cocoa season.
“The Ghana Cocoa Board secured a $1.3 billion-dollar facility to purchase cocoa beans for 2020/21 crop season. This facility was to assist Cocoa board make upfront payment for cocoa beans that it purchases from cocoa farmers,” Mr Adams said.
Mr Adams later at a news conference, supported by Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, MP for Juaboso, threw more light on the matter, arguing that the non-payment to the cocoa farmer worsened their economic plight during the period.
“The cocoa farmers who toil to cultivate their farms, harvest the cocoa produce, process it and sell to all to LBCs (License Buying Companies) expect to be paid so they can use such funds to take care of their families and also create new farms in order to increase their acreage or size of farmlands,” he said.
He further stated that the issue has become of great concern to farmers in the constituency hence the need for Parliament to address and resolve the situation.
“It has become of importance that we thought we needed to bring it to this August House since this house was the one that approved the $1.3 billion syndicated facility for COCOBOD to enable them purchase these cocoa beans.
“So if farmers in our constituency are not being paid it’s important that we bring this matter to the attention of the country so that a decision is taken as far as a solution is concerned in this problem,” he added.
However, the Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin, at a news conference after that of Mr Adams, has challenged the claim saying “no single foreign LBCs is owed” any money.
Mr Afenyo-Markin dared Mr Adams to name the LBCs that had not paid the cocoa farmers, as he (Mr Afenyo-Markin) said the COCOBOD had settled all LBCs that raised certificates for payment.
“Today is the 3rd of February the statement is saying that as at January COCOBOD does not owe all invoices submitted to it and in fact, COCOBOD has gone further to say in response to Hon Eric Opoku that no single foreign-owned LBCs is owed,” he said.