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Confusion Rocks GREL   
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The operations of the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) could grind to a halt if the over 8,000 rubber farmers in the Western and Central regions carry out their threat of ceasing rubber supply to the company.

The rubber farmers, who thronged the streets of Agona NKwanta in the Ahanta West District on Thursday, expressed their grievances about unfair treatment meted out to them by GREL.

According to the farmers, GREL was paying them a paltry GH¢1, 400 for one ton of rubber, a price they claim was far below the world market price for rubber.

They claim per the world market price, farmers should be paid nothing less than GHC4, 000 for a ton of rubber.

John Cobbinah, Chairman of the Western Region Rubber Farmers Association (WRUFA), who spoke to The New Crusading GUIDE, described the action of GREL as unfortunate and disgraceful.

He claim neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire was paying even higher for its farmers' rubber than Ghana, stating that a cedi equivalent of GHC5, 600 was being paid for a ton of rubber in Cote d'Ivoire.

He alleged that GREL was taking advantage of its monopoly in the rubber industry in the country to cheat rubber farmers.

He explained that beside the price mechanism, GREL was engaged in practices which deprived rubber farmers of getting fair value for their produce.

He said there was always a huge difference between the quantity of rubber weighed by individual farmers at their farmers and quantity weighed by GREL after it had been taken to the company's weighing bridge, alleging that, values from the company's weighing bridge were

That apart, he said GREL deducted a whopping 58.5 per cent value from their cup lump (rubber) before pricing it, with explanation that the 58.5 per cent was the water component of the rubber.

Mr. Cobbinah was also not happy that GREL together with the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) and the National Investment Bank (NIB) have agreed to charge a 25 per cent compound interest on government loans given to rubber farmers while the general rate of government loans to farmers was 10 per cent.

He, therefore, urged government to open up the rubber industry to investors in order to break the monopoly of GREL and ensure healthy competition in the sector.

That, he said, would protect the interest of rubber farmers especially against arbitrary and unfair pricing of their produce.
Source: New Crusading Guide

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