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General News Fri, 30 Jul 2010

Cocoa farmers risk losing government's largesse

Hohoe, July 30, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan, National Chief Cocoa Farmer, has said cocoa farmers risk losing government's largesse and support if they failed to join forces to clampdown on cocoa smuggling.

He said it was disheartening that other regions are also taking part in the nation-wrecking activity of smuggling and urging farmers to redouble efforts to fight the canker.

Alhaji Alhassan said this at a durbar of the Volta Region Association of Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers at Hohoe, organized by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).

He said interventions such as mass spraying, bonuses, road projects in cocoa growing areas, scholarship schemes and lately proposals for pension and estate schemes were motivational enough to stem smuggling of the produce.

Alhaji Alhassan appealed to members of the Association to transfer knowledge to the youth, make land available to them and collaborate with traditional authorities and security agencies to fight smuggling.

Mr Victor-Hermann Condobrey, the Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive, said price differentials, which is a pull factor to smuggle the produce, only improves the economy of the destination countries.

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Mr Prosper Zegblah, the Volta Regional Director of Produce Buying Company (PBC), said the region's fortune in cocoa production continued to dwindle recording only 500 tons this year from 32,000 tons it realized in 1957.

He expressed shock that known cocoa farmers, who barely returned five bags of the produce, were filling forms stating 30 acres of farms or more for consideration for pension.

Mr Zegblah blamed the situation on dereliction of duty by district chief farmers and society heads and called for change of attitude.

Mr Mohammed Alhassan, Volta Regional Manager of Quality Control Division of COCOBOD, said his outfit in collaboration with stakeholders was in the process of inaugurating anti-cocoa smuggling vigilante squads.

Nana Adjei Kramo, Volta Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, said smuggling was impacting negatively on the region urging members to work hard to stop it.

Source: GNA
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