The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has urged the public to disregard any research findings by the Center for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) that sought to undermine its reputation for claiming that it has failed to release money to the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), especially, the Produce Buying Company (PBC), as mandated for cocoa purchases for the 2018/2019 crop year.
To the COCOBOD, it has so far allocated a total amount of GHS511million to the State-owned PBC for cocoa purchases. In addition to that, it has allocated funds to all qualified LBCs for cocoa purchases and therefore could not be blamed for failure on the part of some of the LBCs to pay the cocoa farmers.
In a statement released by its Public Affairs Department, COCOBOD said it is engaging all LBCs that have not been able to pay cocoa farmers to ensure that they immediately get their challenges resolved and offer prompt payment to the farmers to avoid the transfer of their organizational challenges to the farmers who have no hand in creating the problem they face.
Below is the full press statement:
The attention of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has been drawn to a supposed research conducted by a group known as the Center for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) which has received wide media publication.
The said report indicates that, through several calls from the cocoa farmers and further investigations by the CSS, it was revealed that COCOBOD has either refused, neglected or failed to allocate funds to the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), especially, Produce Buying Company (PBC) as mandated for cocoa purchases.
We wish to state the following:
(i) We categorically deny any such claims as wholly untrue and therefore cannot be one that was arrived through a meticulous investigation.
(ii) PBC which is the only state owned LBC was allocated the biggest seed fund, which was in excess of GHC390million. In addition, PBC received an amount of GHC121million for payment of cocoa delivered within October/November this year. The released amount is far in excess of what is required by PBC for their cocoa purchase within the period.
(iii) A meticulous investigation or an enquiry would have revealed to CSS that the issue in question was not borne out of the refusal or failure on the part of COCOBOD to release funds for the purchase of cocoa.
(iv) Funds have been made available to all qualified LBCs who have provided bank guarantees. COCOBOD’s policy of protecting public funds by advancing seed funds against bank valid guarantees remain unchanged and will continue to be in force.
(v) It has come to our notice that some LBCs through their own internal challenges have not been able to pay cocoa farmers even though they have received seed funds from COCOBOD. We are engaging all such LBCs to ensure that they immediately get their challenges resolved and offer prompt payment to the farmers to avoid the transfer of their organizational challenges to the farmers who have no hand in creating the problem they face.
COCOBOD wishes to assure all farmers that it has performed its responsibility as expected by releasing funds to all the LBCs including PBC and therefore any problem encountered is not from COCOBOD but regardless we shall facilitate to ensure that they are paid.
ISSUED BY PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT