Business News of 2014-05-23

Cocoa farmers to receive payments from E-zwich

Cocoa farmers would from the beginning of this year’s light crop season receive payments for cocoa sold to the licensed buying companies (LBCs) only from e-zwich and by cheque.

The use of cash, the authorities say, would no longer be permitted.

An intensive education campaign to assist the farmers to have better understanding of the electronic payment system and encourage them to go for the biometric smartcards has been launched.

This is being spearheaded jointly by the BUSAC Fund and the Bank of Ghana (BOG).

Mr Joseph Awantungo, Consultant on the new payment project, said at an education forum held for the Ashanti branch of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Shea-nut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) in Kumasi that the goal was to take out cheating and other risks associated with the cash payment.

It brought together chief farmers from all the cocoa growing districts in the region.

Mr Awantungo said apart from the flexibility the e-zwich offered in terms of money withdrawal from all banks, savings and loans companies, it would provide accurate records on the number of cocoa bags sold by every farmer.

That would make it easier for the determination of bonuses payable to them.

Again, it would tremendously assist to rein in corruption and the abuse of the COCOBODs Scholarship Scheme by ensuring that only genuine cocoa farmers benefitted from the intervention.

Mr Awantungo said the use of the e-zwich had already been piloted in the Hohoe and Jasikan cocoa districts in the Volta Region and all is now set for its roll-out across the country from the coming June.

He said they were not anticipating any problems with the implementation of the project.

Nana Kwaku Duah, Offinso District Chief Farmer, on behalf of his colleague cocoa growers welcomed the new payment system and said they were ready for it.