Cocoa Marketing Clerks told it’s criminal to adjust scales

Cocoa Marketing Clerks (M/Cs) have been cautioned to desist from exploiting farmers through the manipulations of their weighing scales.

“It is a criminal offence to tamper with weighing scales with the intention to cheat farmers,” Mr Emmanuel Obeng, Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District Officer of the Quality Control Division (QCD) of COCOBOD, gave the warning.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Suhum, Mr Obeng warned that any M/C caught cheating cocoa farmers by adjusting their scales would face the full rigours of the law.

To help avoid cheating, “farmers should adhere to the guidelines given them by cocoa officials, to practice the seven-day fermentation period and allowing the beans to dry well,” he stated, adding that it would also drastically reduce the incidence of purple, slate and other defects in the beans.

The District Officer of QCD said the country’s cocoa, referred to as premium commodity due to its quality, should be sustained to enjoy a much higher price than other cocoa exports on the international commodities market.

Nana Debrah Amanor, District Chief Farmer, based at Nsranor near Suhum who has cocoa farms in three districts in the Eastern Region, had earlier told the GNA at Akim Oda in the Birim Central Municipality that it had been the practice of some of the clerks in Akim Oda, Asamankese, Suhum and Kibi operational areas, all in the Eastern Region, to manipulate their weighing scales to cheat farmers.

According to Nana Amanor, a retired headmaster, some of the high-time cocoa farmers weigh their cocoa beans in their homes before sending the commodity to the various societies/sheds, where they are able to detect the disparities on their respective scales, to the farmers’ disadvantage.

“It is only proper to give back to cocoa farmers our fair share of the proceeds of our labour and toil,” Nana Amanor noted, adding that farming used to be a lucrative venture for people living in rural areas but that the trend had changed.

When contacted, Mr Seth Anthony, District Officer (D/O) of Royal Commodities Limited (ROCO), a cocoa buying company at Akim Swedru, told the GNA that most of the clerks claimed that the adjustment was to make up for losses in weight when the cocoa beans, which might not be well dried at the time of purchase, later dried up.

Mr Anthony explained further that cocoa beans that were not properly fermented and thoroughly dried up, apart from shrinking in size and losing weight, also developed a lot of defects.

He stressed that cocoa farmers could help check the cheating by clerks if they attached importance to proper fermentation and drying of the beans, before sending them to the sheds to sell.

The D/O pointed out that replacing the “old bar weighing scales” with modern “easy-to-read clock-type scales” was a move aimed at assisting the farmers to have their produce accurately weighed so as to avoid cheating.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.