Forty thousand cocoa farmers nationwide are to be paid bonuses totalling GH¢2,338,976 during the 2016/2017 cocoa season.
The bonuses, to be paid by Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, a local company and subsidiary of Barry Callebaut Group, a leading manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, forms part of the company’s sustainability programme.
The Country Sustainable Manager of Barry Callebaut Group, Mr Robert Asugre, made this known at the national launch of the premium at a farmers rally during which the Managing Director of Nyonkopa, Mr Joshy Varkey, and a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr William Agyapong Quaittoo, jointly presented the cheque to the Oda District Cocoa Farmer, Mr Alex Kwame Bempong.
He said the sustainability programmes were aimed not only to driving sustainable livelihood resilience and improved rural economy in cocoa growing communities of the company’s operational area, but also increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
In his address, Mr Quaittoo said the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) government was adopting effective measures to revamp the cocoa industry in order to achieve its target of producing one million tonnes of cocoa in four years.
In that regard, he said, the government would provide free insecticides for specially trained gangs to spray cocoa farms.
Mr Quaittoo stated that the government had also reduced the price of a bag of fertiliser from GH¢140 to GH¢80 to make it affordable for cocoa farmers.
According to him, the government has decided to provide dugouts and solar panels in cocoa farms for irrigation to enhance the production of all- year-round cocoa.
Mr Quaittoo warned cocoa purchasing clerks against adjusting of their weighing scales to exploit farmers, stressing that farmers should insist that cocoa beans are weighed at 64 kilogrammes a bag and not 66 or 67 kilogrammes by cheating clerks.