COCOBOD establishing cocoa farmers database
Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has begun the process to establish the Cocoa Management System in anticipation of implementing several new, farmer-focused initiatives by October this year.
This requires that all cocoa farmers across the country will soon be registered into a single database, and issued with electronic accounts into which all sales proceeds of their cocoa beans will be recorded and deposited with payments made electronically.
The move is to ensure that only registered – and thus certified genuine – cocoa farmers can sell cocoa beans to Licensed Buying Companies. Besides, since payment will be done electronically, LBCs will no longer need to carry cash around for any transaction.
This has become necessary following series of theft cases of cocoa beans at the farms or homes of cocoa farmers where the beans are being dried coupled with recent armed robbery cases where some LBCs were attacked and the cocoa beans and their cash, taken from them.
Speaking during a National Stakeholder Dialogue on cocoa farmgate pricing and income of cocoa farmers organized in Accra by SEND Ghana last Wednesday, the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Operations at COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku revealed that a pilot project of the Cocoa Management System has already been carried out and he expressed optimism that such unfortunate incidents would be curtailed with immediate effect.
“So, if you go to a buyer and he buys your cocoa even though you don’t have a farm ID or cocoa farm, what it means is that the one who buys the cocoa will lose everything because COCOBOD will take that money directly from the LBC”, he added.
Apart from the electronic transaction platform for cocoa marketing, Cocobod is also introducing another platform for inputs sales, most especially fertilizer.
When this is operationalized under this system, Cocobod has indicated that it will halt blanket subsidies. In effect the subsidy will be paid directly to farmers through their electronic account where they will be required to use the electronic money to buy the fertilizer from the inputs store. This is being introduced to curtail fertilizer smuggling in the cocoa sector.
“If you are not a cocoa farmer, you will buy the fertilizer at the market price from the inputs store”, Dr. Opoku said.
The dialogue follows a report in Ghana’s cocoa sector compiled by SEND Ghana which captures a number of key challenges affecting cocoa farmers in a bid to propose some recommendations for dealing with such challenges raised which include cheating of farmers using weighing scale.
The report was titled: “how does farm gate pricing affect the welfare of cocoa farmers indicated?”