8 January 2014

Ghana: Cocoa Carriers On Rampage - Over Meager Loading Fees

Takoradi — BUT For the timely intervention of Police Officers from the Kwesimintsim Command of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), cocoa carriers and haulage drivers would have apparently razed the a cocoa facility to the ground.

The aggrieved persons had embarked on the demonstration over what they described as low loading fees and delay in offloading their goods against the management of Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC).

The demonstrators, numbering 500, in the early hours of Tuesday burnt car tyres and blocked the entrance to the CMC warehousing facility at Beahu in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region for over five hours, amidst chanting of war songs.

A truck driver, who pleaded anonymity told this reporter at the CMC Commodity Village at Beahu that he had spent three months at the place, but his cargo had not being offloaded.

Others, he claimed, had spent more months than him in anticipation for their goods to be offloaded.

What is believed to have angered the workers is the decision by CMC to bring down cocoa carriers from Tema to the Commodity side to carry the cocoa beans. This was after the CMC had rejected a request by the local cocoa carriers for an increment in the offloading fee for a bag of cocoa beans.

CMC is currently paying 15 pesewa per bag for a cocoa bean offloaded. The local carriers had requested for an increase from 15 pesewa to 50 pesewa a bag but the CMC allegedly rejected the request and sent down the carriers from Tema to replace the local carriers..

The decision by CMC to bring down the Tema cocoa carriers down to replace the local cariers is believed to have culminated in the confrontation between the couriers from Tema and Beahu, thereby halting the offloading of the cocoa beans from the trucks.

Another driver who spoke to this paper alleged that an official of the CMC locked the borehole at the facility from which the drivers fetch water for bathing and cooking, and thereby igniting the demonstration on Tuesday morning.

He alleged that some officials of the Quality Control Division of the Company that inspect the cocoa beans demanded between GH¢200 and GH¢300 before giving approval for offloading. However, police personnel from the Kwesimintsim District Command arrived to save what would have been a nasty situation. They managed to calm down tempers and that resulted in the removal of the barricade from the entrance of the warehouse facility.

The Kwesimintsim District Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Issah Yakubu told reporters that his outfit would convey an emergency meeting with all the stakeholders on Friday January 10, 2014, to resolve the concerns raised by the drivers and cocoa couriers.

All the efforts by this reporter seek the side of officials of CMC to the concerns raised by the demonstrators proved futile, since no official of CMC at the facility was ready to speak to the media.

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