Dr. Asebu Amenfi “Bay Watch”
The concept of the stone depleting farmers’ income
Diamonds, they say, are forever. In the ordinary sense of the word, diamonds are stones with distinctive shapes and sizes. They do not come cheap though. Brokers say diamonds are the most expensive stones anywhere on the globe, which is why the Queen, the Monarch of all she surveys, would continue to be one of the richest and powerful beings ever born to man.
At public functions on the island and beyond, the arrival of the Queen has its own symbolism. The necklace, glittering in all its opulence, sends out messages of the power and riches of the British monarchy. The message also tells a vivid story of the adventures of the old empire.
In those days, when Britannia ruled the waves, diamonds indeed, were forever. Stones from South Africa, the desert regions of the Kalahari, Australasia, Sierra Leone and the Birim basin in good old Gold Coast, provided the monarchy with a source of power and wealth unmatched by all activities on the island since the empire gave way to a loose alliance that has, in contemporary history, come to be referred to as the Commonwealth, for want of an effective description.
It is one alliance that has so far failed the equation test in the wealth each nation generates. With the painful experience of losing their precious metals to the colonial adventurers, most nations in the Commonwealth have failed the equality test. After long and painful memories of the scale and cocoa beans in the nation that benefitted from one man’s expedition to Fernando Po, another type of stones are being promoted to join the wealthy class.
It is still at the experimental stage, but if John, the former Bole representative in the House, who is threatening to outdo the boss in terms of service delivery, is to be believed, stones other than diamonds are to assume wealth generating roles for producers of the beans that have bankrolled this nation, since a blacksmith from Osu brought a few pods from the eastern corridor to begin an experimental farm down the Akwapim slope.
It is the mechanism that is generating all the controversy. The system though, according to those who are promoting the Better Ghana concept that is steeped in poverty distribution throughout the land, is perfect. When the cedi has caught a cold, who said anybody could be spared the mass sneezing exercise, which is why farmers’ concept of the stone and the scale is still hazy.
John, the Bole Deputy, though, has so much faith in the stone working magic. The concept is for the stones to represent weight on the scale. The weight of these stones is worked out to represent the load of the cocoa bag on the scales at the various purchasing centres.
In its ordinary form, the stone mechanism is to check cheating by equating the stone to the weight of the load of cocoa on the scale. In a society of workshops and seminars, do not be surprised if the pliant state media begin announcing special courses for farmers on the concept of the stone and the scale, during which tea and resource personnel would deplete quite a bit of COCOBOD’s income.
The jury though, is still out on whether the new stone concept would stop purchasing clerks and their treasurers from feeding fat on the sweat of the poor farmer. When the state has increased the weight of a load of cocoa from 60 kilos to 64 in a clever ploy to make the new purchasing price look healthy, the task of stopping purchasing clerks from maximising their illegal incomes at the expense of the farmer, becomes a whole new ball game.
From Brahabobome to Fankyene Ko, a new description of the old method of exchanging dry cocoa beans for the cedi, is about to crystallize. Take it from the old man with one foot in the grave. Cheating at the various purchasing centres, stands a good chance of rising, rather than abating with the new stone concept of weighing the beans.
When a man spends his whole time waiting on the Lord, time is abundant for idle gossip, which is why the old man still remembers this one. By the way, what has happened to the cash owed to farmers and financial institutions by that purchasing company formed by the trio of siblings with the political Midas touch?
The notion is beginning to form in the minds of many that ‘Ana, Wodze Akyere Ato a?’ might have kicked the problem to touch.
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