A section of the Rubber Out growers and Agents Association (ROAA) in the Western Region continue to express dissatisfaction in the trade relations between the Association and the management of the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited.
The ROAA said since the GREL is the only company buying their produce many “unfair trade” practices have not allowed farmers to realize any good financial returns on their daily sweat to feed their families.
In a sixteen-point petition dubbed: “GREL! ROAA Fair Business Relationship Advocacy for Total Solution”, the out growers said they were cheated in all fronts by GREL through wrongful pricing and sale of farming inputs in Euros.
The petition said “farmers suspects that the 42/100 water content in the cup lump is not the real average and are calling for alternative scientific research”.
ROAA members said there is the need for farmers to have a say in the market and pricing of their products as well as an alternative buyer apart from GREL.
The out-growers said to achieve the rubber poverty alleviation concept, government should ensure that the rubber value chain followed a systemic and fair trade order.
They expressed worry about their contribution towards extension services and those who actually owned the fund at present and called on GREL to pay all arrears due them to enable farmers enjoy their wealth.
The petition said GREL must fairly implement the tripartite agreement and price mechanism for sustainable and fair business and that certain cost components such as transport to factory, carriers, loading and offloading of cup lumps and other inputs like stimulant should be considered in the price mechanism.
Mr Kwame Awuah Asante, the National Chairman of the ROAA, at a special meeting held recently, said the withholding of contributions for Extension Services since May 2014 has not helped farmers.
“The non-deduction of the fidelity bonus has not made it possible to honour its obligations…At this juncture, we would appeal to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to consider releasing the funds to enable ROAA execute projects and help revamp the association”, he said.
Mr Asante said the proliferation of cup lump buyers was not helping since the internal crisis started,
“I believe the time has come for all the stakeholders-ROAA, GREL, ADB, NIB, MoFA, KFW and AFD to sit down and find a lasting solution to this canker which has the potential to truncate the cultivation and development of natural rubber in the country”.