Several hundred bags of coffee not purchased

Thu, 31 May 2001 Source: GNA

Coffee farmers at Juaso in the Asante Akyem South District have expressed concern about the government's failure to ensure the purchase of coffee produced last year.

A spokesman for the farmers, Mr Stephen Kwaku Adu told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that since what they harvested last year has not been bought, they find it frustrating to harvest this year's crop.

" In the past, the government encouraged farmers to go into coffee farming by offering us high yielding seedlings. Coffee farmers in the district bought the idea, spent a lot of money to expand their farms to increase the yield"

Mr Adu said the government appears to be only interested in the production of cocoa and not coffee, which incidentally, attracts a higher price on the international market.

"For example in this year's budget statement, the government decided to undertake mass spraying of cocoa farms against the black pod and other diseases and increased the producer price of the crop but nothing was said about coffee," he said.

Mr Adu said in 1992, COCOBOD purchased un-husked coffee at 35,000 cedis per bag of 60 kilos and later raised it to 40,000 cedis.

When the purchasing was privatised, CASHPRO, a private buying company paid 55,000 cedis for the same quantity and later increased it to 70,000 cedis but two years ago the price fell to 60,000 cedis.

"Another private company, which initiated a move to purchase our produce decided to do so without using weighing scales, which many of us disagreed."

He said the company told them the price had fallen two years ago on international market but this time round, nobody has told them anything.

Mr Adu said coffee farmers have entered into another harvesting season and there seemed to be no hope to market their produce.

"Some of us are contemplating whether we should cut down our trees to enable us to produce plantain and cocoyam instead".

Mr Adu, therefore, appealed to the government to institute a mechanism to purchase and offer a producer price for the crop just as it does for cocoa.

The government should also assist them to purchase machines to husk their coffee. Under the present arrangement it is those who buy the coffee that send it to Abuakwa in Ashanti for husking.

Source: GNA

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