In a bid to stop the tampering of weighing scales by Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) within the cocoa sector, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has set out a preventive reform as well as punitive measures to check the illegal practice.
LBCs tampering of weighing scales has been consequentially regressive in terms of the impact they have on interventions that COCOBOD has put in place to improve the earnings and livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
Speaking at the press briefing on issue, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, in charge of operations, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku said, “The reform or preventive measure involves the introduction of Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) recommended electronic sealable weighing scales which meet a set of tamper-proof standards – so that scale adjustments will be a thing of the past.”
“To provide the needed guidance and ensure the smooth rollout of this reform, the decision has been taken to import the electronic sealable weighing scales, starting this year, and distribute them at a cost to the LBCs,” He explained.
However, currently, COCOBOD has put in place a punitive measure to surcharge any defaulting LBC with the monetary equivalent of the aggregated weight from cocoa sheds across the country that the LBC in question may have short-changed the unsuspecting farmers.
Dr. Opoku said that any defaulting LBC will be surcharged once GSA confirms adjustment of such weighing scales.
“Obviously, continuous monitoring and policing will be necessary to ensure the effective implementation of such a measure to eliminate a systemic problem,” He indicated.
“We are also confident that COCOBOD’s Farmer Data/Cocoa Information Management System, which is underway, when ready will improve overall monitoring of the supply chain including purchasing, weighing and grading of cocoa, enhance records keeping, allow the early detection and flagging of inconsistencies and anomalies in records and ease traceability. Detected issues can then be promptly addressed,” Dr. Opoku added.