The Afosu Area Cocoa Farmers Association in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region has appealed to government to institute a pension scheme for cocoa farmers to free them from poverty in old age.
This could be done by deducting tokens from their sales proceeds to sustain the scheme.
Addressing a news conference at Afosu, Mr Martin Larbi, the Chairman of the Association, called for an increase in the producer price of cocoa to help attract the youth to the sector.
The Afosu cocoa farmers also called for the use of electronic scale instead of the “clock face” scales currently being used to weigh cocoa, which could easily be tampered by purchasing clerks.
They suggested that the main cocoa season should be from early August instead of October in order to reduce farmers dependence on loans from middlemen and purchasing clerks who in many cases cheat them in the end.
The Afosu farmers pleaded that cocoa pods be sold to farmers who want to nurse their own cocoa seedlings and the reduction of price of spraying machines to enable farmers to purchase them.
They called for increase of allowance for spraying gang members who are currently receiving GH¢70.00 each to motivate them to do effective work, noting that hitherto such workers were attracted to illegal gold mining and pleaded for free medical care for members of the spraying gangs .
They called for the provision of cocoa extension officers with motorcycles so that they could visit farmers periodically on their farms.
They also pleaded for the rehabilitation of all cocoa roads for smooth conveyance of cocoa to the depots, especially in the New Abirem – Kade, Asuom, New Abirem – Nkawkaw roads which are in bad shape.
The cocoa farmers said in addition to the cash bonus, farmers be given cocoa products to motivate them in their efforts.