Cocoa farmers in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region are appealing to the government to introduce a cashless system for cocoa purchases and other transactions.
They recommend electronic financial services such as mobile money and e-zwich to relieve them from the hassle of going to the bank.
Cocoa contributes about 60 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product, yet there is little development and security in the farmers’ line of work.
The risk of armed robbery attack, especially, during the major harvest season remains a challenge.
Sixty-year-old Kofi Kwaakye is Chief Farmer at Manso Dominase in the Amansie West District.
He tells Joy News that “most often when we the farmers are targeted by armed robbers, they accost us from the cocoa purchasing point and take away our hard earned cocoa money at gunpoint. I strongly believe the cashless system for cocoa purchases and other transactions will not only reduce robbery attacks but also reduce our level of expenditure,” the chief farmer appealed to the government.
Thomas Oppong, President of Amansie West Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Union believes farmers will be better off if the state and private cocoa buying companies transact business with them through a mobile money system.
“We the farmers are much familiar with the mobile money services than going to the bank. We want Cocobod to follow suit from what cocoa Abrabopa has started.
“From my personal experience, anytime I sell my cocoa beans, my expenditure naturally increases and this render me to spend out of my budget, I am confident we the cocoa farmers will save enough money and optimistic, if government and other cocoa buying companies transact with the farmers through a mobile money system, would improve the cocoa farmers economic life,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cocoa Abrabopa Association, an NGO, is already responding to concerns of the farmers with the introduction of cashless payment to its members of over 7,000.
The association paid premium commission to over 800 farmers via mobile money during the 2016 cocoa season at their 2017 annual general meeting at Assin Fosu.
Finance Officer, Albert Sefa Boampong says Cocoa Abrabopa is poised to give cocoa farmers a well-defined life for their toils and hassle they go through.
“This mobile money service is aimed at reducing bulk money transactions which attracts armed robbers and unnecessary spending. We pray government will introduce this system of the transaction to reduce farmers long queuing at banking halls.” Mr Sefa Boampong urges government.