Managers of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) have rejected reports that their processing plants in Tema have been shut down because of a lack of cocoa beans.
Public Relations Officer Ekow Rhule told Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey Tuesday, the shutdown of two of three plants is to allow for routine maintenance works.
He said the Chocolate Factory is working but the factory for semi-finished products have been shut down.
The premises looked abandoned with some administrative staff and security men seen going about their work, Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey reported. There is an uneasy calm on the premises, he said.
At least 60 workers of the company have been asked to take their annual leave to allow engineers carry out maintenance that ought to have been done in December 2015.
But the regular repair works could not come off in December because the company had landed a contract and needed to work through the month.
The PRO says the contract has ended hence the need to effect maintenance. Ekow Rhule s
aid he is not sure when the maintenance works will be completed.
The worker’s union chairman Kingsley Owusu, however, told Joy News, there is not a single cocoa bean in the plant hence a considerable lull in the pace of work.
He said an acute shortage of cocoa beans is the trigger for the shutdown and rejected Management explanation for the shut down.
‘I am not happy at al…they will finish their leave and come back to the same situation’, he said.
According to Reuters, there has been a cocoa crop failure in Ghana. COCOBOD has been compelled to revise down its cocoa crop estimates by 15% in May 2015.
It had projected a 2015 output of one million tons, a target that has been whittled down to less than 800,000 tons. The shortfall has been attributed to bad seasonal weather, pests and smuggling.