Ghana Deploys Electronic Weighing Scales Effective October 8
The Ghanaian cocoa sector’s transition from the old analogue mechanical weighing scales to digital electronic weighing scales is said to take effect from October 8, 2021, when cocoa purchases officially commence.
“To assist the farmer to enjoy the full benefits from their investments, Government has introduced a uniform non-adjustable electronic weighing for the purchase of cocoa,” the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said when he announced the Producer Price for cocoa.
An audit of weighing scales commissioned by the sector regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), following a media expose resulted in the policy decision to transition to digital electronic weighing scales.
In August, Cocobod outdoored 40,000 units of password-protected electronic weighing scales procured to stem cheating at the scale.
According to officials, the electronic scales have been certified by the Ghana Standards Authority and ascertained to conform to mandatory requirements.
“Cocoa buyers cannot adjust the weighing scale after it has been calibrated and sealed by the Ghana Standards Authority,” Dr. Akoto assured.
“We advise the LBCs to cooperate with the Ghana Standards Authority to set up the scales and use them to weigh the farmers’ cocoa,” he directed.
Ghana Cocoa Board, the industry regulator, is projecting to buy about 950,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans in the 2021/22 crop year.
Weighing scales, which are used by the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), are central to confirming this target.
In his Cocoa Day message on October 1, the Chief Executive of Cocobod, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, expressed gratitude to cocoa farmers for their hard work culminating in achieving a record production milestone.
He maintained the Board was committed to ensuring that farmers get the full value of their labour when they send their produce to the societies for weighing and sale.
Speaking to the Editor of Cocoa Post, Kojo Hayford, at the launch of the new scales the President of Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies Association (LICOBAG), Samuel Adimado, said “there is now a mutual understanding between the farmers, the Purchasing Clerk, COCOBOD and the LBCs, where we now have a scale that all stakeholders will accept.”
“And the scale is also sealed and passworded. So now whatever weight that will come out will bring peace,” Mr Adimado added.
Meanwhile, representatives of cocoa farmers have also endorsed the digital scales to usher in an era of transparency that ensures cocoa farmers get their due.
The Eastern Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, Nana Obeng Akrofi, expressed his excitement with the equipment and lauded Ghana Cocoa Board for the bold initiative.
He advised authorities to ensure strict protection of the device password from getting into the wrong hands.