The Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto has disclosed that government will commence payments to farmers for cocoa on Monday, 22 February 2021.
He also stated that the Central Bank is collaborating with COCOBOD to raise funds to pay Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), when he appeared before the Appointments Committee on Friday, 19 February 2021.
He explained that the payments had delayed because of the decline in chocolate production across Europe and America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dr Afriyie Akoto, the country was unable to sell enough contracts to trigger the release of the last tranche of the cocoa syndication loan worth about $190 million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “By now before the end of the year, normally we should have had enough contracts for the release of the whole amount of US$1.3 billion, unfortunately we could not sell that fast.
“So now that we have the contracts sold, we are expecting that coming week early next week the last tranche $190 million will be with us and then we can pay for all the outstanding debts and that issue will be behind us.”
“Monday, farmers will start getting paid,” he added.
This comes after the MP for Buem, Mr Kofi Adams, made a statement on the plight of cocoa farmers in his constituency when he observed that the plight of cocoa farmers is nothing to write home about since LBCs are still indebted to cocoa farmers.
In his constituency, he said cocoa farmers were owed over GH¢11 million.
The issue drew heated debate on the floor as members from the NPP caucus contested that Cocobod had paid LBCs for cocoa beans purchase.
After several hours of debate, the first deputy speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, who chaired proceedings directed the management of Cocobod appears before the house at the committee of the whole to brief members.