The Birim Central Municipal Best Farmer, Mr Kofi Boakye, has said the yearly closure of the cocoa trading season in the country, sometime in August and reopening between late September and early October, is having adverse effects on cocoa farmers.
This, he stated, is because most farmers at the time, needed money urgently for their home upkeep and were, therefore, compelled to sell their produce very cheap to some purchasing clerks, who derived enough returns when the season reopened.
Mr Boakye was answering questions from the Ghana News Agency (GNA) shortly after visiting part of his 23-acre cocoa farm at Akim Oda in the Birim Central Municipality.
The 41-year-old Municipal Best Farmer won the 2010 award on the strength of his 19 acres palm plantation, nine-acre citrus farm, 7.5-acre maize, 2.5-acre vegetables, eight-acre plantain and cassava, 53 goats, 11 sheep and 37 birds, among others.
The Batabi-based farmer said the early opening of the cocoa season would enable cocoa farmers to be paid the actual price of cocoa, to help them to meet the needs of their children in respect of their academic requirements.
According to him, most of the cocoa purchasing clerks had taken advantage of the closure of the cocoa season to be buying the cocoa from farmers who were in financial difficulty at reduced prices than the approved ones, adding that “in this way, they make huge profits when the cocoa season reopens.”
He said for the clerks to avoid cheating farmers it was proper for government to ensure that the 2010/2011 cocoa season was opened as early as possible.
Mr Boakye advised cocoa farmers to allow the Disease Control Division of COCOBOD to cut down diseased and aged trees for replanting, so as to help increase their yield.