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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has taken delivery of 40,000 pieces of sealed solar-powered electronic weighing scales to replace mechanical weighing scales used by Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs).
This is in fulfilment of a promise made by the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, to cocoa farmers that the Management of COCOBOD will permanently resolve the long-standing menace of illegal adjustments of the widely used mechanical weighing scales.
The electronic scales will be used to weigh cocoa beans purchased by the LBCs from farmers at their points-of-sale, starting from the upcoming 2021/2022 cocoa crop season.
Addressing representatives of LBCs, farmers and journalists at a press conference held at the Cocoa House in Accra, Hon Aidoo commended the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for its findings on scale adjustments and its recommendation for electronic weighing scales which are tamper-proof.
When adjusted, mechanical scales record values that are significantly less than the actual weight of the cocoa beans that farmers bring to the LBC points-of-sale to sell. Consequently, the farmers are paid amounts that are less than the true value of their produce as stipulated by the producer price for that crop season.
Hon Aidoo said the new electronic scales are portable and efficient. They will be used to phase out mechanical scales and as such, guarantee the true value of cocoa farmers’ produce. He added that GSA has verified the specifications of the scales and any attempt to tamper with them renders them defective.
“This new scale operates on electricity and solar power, so it can be used everywhere in Ghana with ease. GSA has verified every detail about them so they have universal features. If you try to adjust it, you do it at your own risk and extra cost of replacement, so it cannot be tampered with,” he said.
Hon Aidoo advised LBCs to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that the scales are available for use at their points-of-sale across the country.
Cocoa farmers are also to insist on the use of electronic scales only, as it is in their interest.
Hon Aidoo took the opportunity to express much appreciation to cocoa farmers for their adherence to good agronomic practices and the Productivity Enhancement Programmes which have culminated in the attainment of some 1,033,000 metric tonnes of cocoa bought and sealed already.
“There is an onerous task ahead of us,” he noted. “As we have broken the record, we have to sustain and improve upon the feat chalked”.
The National President of the Cocoa, Coffee and Shea Nut Farmers Association (COCOSHE), Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, on behalf of cocoa farmers praised COCOBOD for the bold step taken to protect farmers’ incomes; not only through the introduction of the scales but also through interventions such as the Living Income Differential (LID) and various productivity-driven initiatives.
Mr. Samuel Adimado, President of the Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana (LICOBAG), pledged his outfit’s support and cooperation to ensure that the scales are effectively used to help curb the menace of scale adjustments in the cocoa trade and protect the incomes of farmers.
There was a demonstration of how the scales function and instructions on the effective use and maintenance of the scales.
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