Government to pay cocoa debts to farmers from February 22 – Dr. Afriyie Akoto

Government to pay cocoa debts to farmers from February 22 – Dr. Afriyie Akoto

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 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “At this point 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 were unable to sell that quick.

“So since we have the contracts sold, we are expecting that coming week right on time one week from now the last tranche $190 million will be with us and then we can pay for all the outstanding obligations and that issue will be behind us.”

“Monday, farmers will begin getting paid,” he added.

This comes after the MP for Buem, Mr Kofi Adams, said something on the predicament of cocoa farmers in his constituency when he saw that the situation of cocoa farmers is nothing to think of home about since LBCs are as yet 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 assembly 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.

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