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Government urges COCOBOD to address delayed payments to farmers

Agric Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto1 Agric Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto

Fri, 11 Jun 2021 Source: business24.com.gh

Government has asked the country’s cocoa regulator, COCOBOD, to review its sales and delivery strategy to ensure timely drawdown of its syndicated loan facility to pay farmers.

This came to light on Wednesday, when Dr. Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Agriculture, addressed Parliament in response to concerns over delayed payments for cocoa beans purchased by Cocobod from farmers.

He blamed the delay on COCOBOD’s inability to expeditiously draw down its annual syndicated loan facility due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other effects of the pandemic on the regulator’s normal operations.

He revealed that COCOBOD is building an internal revolving fund that will be used to support cocoa purchasing operations to supplement drawdowns of its syndicated loan.

For the 2021–2022 season, the board has received approval from government to borrow US$1.5bn to fund cocoa purchases, he added.

Addressing other issues in the sector, Dr. Akoto said Cocobod has targeted a total of 91,400 hectares of diseased cocoa farms for rehabilitation, with financing from the African Development Bank and Credit Suisse.

The rehabilitation entails treatment and replanting of cocoa affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease (CSSVD).

This year, COCOBOD has covered a total of 22,375.25 hectares of farms under the rehabilitation programme, with a total of GH₵10.3m paid as compensation to 11,289 affected farmers.

“Equally, 418 landowners with a total land size of 454.48 hectares of cocoa farms have been compensated with an amount of GH₵454,480 at the time of reporting. Processes are still underway to pay additional landowners in due course,” the Minister said.

He assured MPs that his ministry would ensure prompt payment of due compensation to farmers affected by the rehabilitation programme.

Source: business24.com.gh
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