The Ghana Cocoa Board says it will do its best to resolve the grievances of cocoa carriers, who declared a strike over their allowances.
Fiifi Boafo, the Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, in an interview on Eyewitness News, said the company is aware of the concerns and actions of the cocoa carriers and has commenced engagements with them to amicably address their challenges.
According to him, although the carriers are an important part of the cocoa value chain in the country, they are not direct employees of COCOBOD but rather of private companies contracted by COCOBOD’s subsidiary, the Cocoa Marketing Company.
“COCOBOD is aware of what is happening. We’ve started engaging the workers who are demonstrating, hoping to get a resolution to the problem. These persons do not work for the Cocoa Marketing Company which is a subsidiary of COCOBOD but rather private companies that COCOBOD has contracted.”
Thousands of bags of cocoa beans were left unattended on Wednesday at the various warehouses of COCOBOD in the Western and Ashanti regions as a result of the indefinite sit-down strike declared by the carriers.
The Headman for the Cocoa Carriers, Joseph Bordo, told Citi News that the indefinite strike is to demand GH¢1.00 instead of the 65 pesewas they are given per bag load.
It is unclear if their exact demands will be heeded to, but Fiifi Boafo disclosed that engagements so far show promise of an increase in the allowance for the carriers. He however said the exact amount by which it will increased hasn’t been declared yet.
“I’m unable to tell how much will be given to them, but there shall be an increase which we have discussed and further discussed,” he said.
He added that he believes the GH¢1 demand from the carriers is on the high side.
“[This money] is something that has been agreed, and we do engage at the beginning of every year to look at how much will be commensurate to the service they offer. We believe that [GH¢1] will be on a higher side, but we do not want to have this conversation in public.”
He, however, said he is optimistic that the issue will be resolved by the end of the week and that the cocoa industry will not be negatively affected by the strike action.
“We believe that by the end of the week, there should be a resolution to the problem. They must engage with their contractors…If it requires the intervention of COCOBOD we’ll step in. We’ll be able to salvage any possible challenge that it will pose to the industry. [For now] it has not gotten to a stage where you will say that it will be so dire on the industry,” Fiifi Boafo noted.