Cocoa farmers demand transparency in dividend payments

Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union (KKFU), a Ghanaian farmers’ co-operative, with majority shares in the United Kingdom (UK)-based chocolate manufacturing company, Divine Chocolate Limited, has complained about the lack of financial transparency in the operations of the company.

The national executive council of the union said the company has not been fair in its dividends payment and is demanding that there must be some level of openness.

Ms. Fatima Ali, president of the union, said they were not comfortable with the returns on their shares.

“Our investigations indicate that the company has been doing well on the international market but we continue to receive paltry amounts as dividends.”

She conveyed the sentiment, when she addressed the annual delegates’ conference of the union in Kumasi.

She said the KKFU held 44 per cent of shares in the chocolate company, making it the majority shareholder and could not understand why it should be kept in the dark as far as the company’s financial matters were concerned.

Ms. Ali said they were determined to take appropriate steps to get the company to be properly audited to prevent being shortchanged.

“The union deserved to receive realistic dividends on its shares and would not be cheated,” she added.

This year’s conference was held under the theme, “Deepening decentralisation through the cooperative way — a valuable tool for farmer development”.

It provided the platform to take stock of the activities of the cooperative and discuss the way forward.

Ms. Ali urged the members to work hard to strengthen the union and said this was in their own interest.

She spoke of plans to intensify farmer education to help them to adopt improved farming practices to raise crop yield and returns.

Barima Offe Okogyeasuo II, Omanhene of Kokofu, applauded the contribution of cocoa farmers to the nation’s economic growth and called for more interventions to promote their wellbeing.

He advised the leadership of the Union to be innovative and introduce programmes that would bring long-term benefits to its members.

He welcomed the decision to introduce a literacy programme to assist illiterate farmers to read and write.

GNA

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