Business News of 2014-02-07

COCOBOD vows to tackle cocoa smuggling

Dr. Stephen Opuni has vowed to do everything to halt the smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries.

He said those engaged in the illegal activity should reform or face the full force of the law.

He said his administration would not turn a blind eye to the diversion of chemicals and other agricultural inputs meant for the cocoa farmer to boost crop yield.

Dr. Opuni, who was addressing a farmers rally at Juaso in the Asante-Akim South District, appealed to the people to be bold and report the offenders.

He said it was important for all to take responsibility for protecting the cocoa industry given its tremendous contribution to the nation’s economy.

He said as part of measures to stop people from diverting the agrochemicals and fertilizers, these products would now be channeled only through the cocoa input shops and License Buying Companies (LBCs).

He also spoke of his determination to strengthen the Cocoa Disease and Pest Control (CODAPEC) programme and cautioned the spraying gangs not to politicize the exercise.

Responding to concerns expressed by farmers over reported adjustment of weighing scales by some cheating purchasing clerks, Dr. Opuni promised to work with the LBCs to fight the crime.

He said COCOBOD would continue to provide the cocoa growing communities with solar street lights and liaise with the Department of Feeder Roads to improve cocoa roads.

He urged the farmers to take advantage of the COCOBOD scholarship scheme to educate their children.

Mr. De-graft Fokuo, the District Chief Executive, complained about the bad nature of roads linking the cocoa areas and said more should be done to improve these roads.

Mr. S. Y. Akuoko, the Ashanti Regional Chief Farmer, appealed for reduction in the price of fertilizers to make them affordable to farmers.

Source: GNA
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