From Michael Boateng, Sunyani
The former Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Kwame Twumasi
Awuah, has appealed to the government to provide jute sacks for cocoa farmers to bag their cocoa. There is scarcity of the sacks at the moment, compelling farmers to bag their cocoa in fertiliser sacks.
Speaking to The Chronicle in Sunyani on Monday, Twumasi Awuah said the bagging of cocoa beans in fertiliser sacks was inappropriate and unhealthy.
He therefore, called on the Ministry involved to quickly address the anomaly. The former MCE noted that when cocoa beans are bagged in fertiliser sacks, the beans easily go bad, and would subsequently affect the value of the commodity.
Visits by The Chronicle across the Brong-Ahafo Region revealed that players in the cocoa industry are in a dilemma, despite the increase in price for farmers, because of the lack of jute sacks to bag the cocoa beans.
Large quantities of dried cocoa beans are locked up in farms throughout the region, due to the shortage of jute sacks.
The situation has created anxiety among both farmers, who send their dried cocoa beans to the various cocoa sheds, and the purchasing clerks who purchase the commodity.
A number of worried farmers and purchasing clerks in the region pointed out that though the use of the fertiliser sacks was not the best, they had no option.
“We are compelled to use fertiliser sacks which have no space for air, a situation which eventually causes the beans to go waste, thereby affecting its internationally required standard,” they said.
Some of the buying companies also confirmed the usage of fertiliser sacks, saying they needed the beans, whilst the farmers also needed the money, especially, for the Christmas, therefore business must go on.
The companies however, appealed to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to, as a matter of urgency, supply them with jute sacks, twines and stencil ink to facilitate the evacuation of cocoa from the farms to avert the circumstance whereby the quality of beans would be affected, due to the use of fertiliser sacks for bagging.