Cocoa farmers in the Bepowso township in the Bekwai district of the Ashanti region, have called on government to pay them allowances just like it does public sector employees.
According to a farmer known simply as Auntie Akosua, farmers provide produce to every single civil servant but end up suffering and living in extreme poverty whilst their counterparts in the public sector enjoy.
“Teachers and other public sector employees receive allowances from the government but as the caretakers of all these groups, we earn nothing. Public sector employees eat three square and balanced meals a day whilst the poor farmer doesn’t enjoy balanced diets and barely have enough to eat. Because we don’t receive any allowances, we suffer especially when we grow old and become bed ridden,” she stated.
To her, subsequent governments have refused to listen to and address the plight of farmers and believes it is now time for farmers to also receive government allowances.
Auntie Akosua who is expectant of these allowances and has already planned in advance what she would use her money for stated, “We can use these monies to hire laborers to help us out on our farms and also seek medical attention when ill. We sometimes suffer injuries and have to stay home over long periods because we can’t afford to pay our medical bills as the insurance does not cover such things. By the time we recover and go back to the farm, our crops would’ve already been destroyed and this is sad.”
The seasoned cocoa farmer revealed that she is not aware of a single finished product made out of cocoa.
She shared that because she does not want any of her children to farm cocoa, she invests every dime she makes into their education. “I would love to own a television set, radio, a fan and have some fun on the regular but because we don’t want our children to suffer like us, we invest everything we make into their education.”
She repeated on the Epa Hoa Daben political talk show hosted by Don Kwabena Prah, “We set out in life with a lot of these public sector workers and they are doing way too better than we are and it is sad. These allowances are long overdue.”