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09.06.2004 Regional News

Cocoa farmers happy with efforts to boost the industry

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Sefwi-Adabokrom (W/R), June 9, GNA - Cocoa farmers in the Juabeso-Bia district, a major cocoa producing area in the Western Region, have expressed their satisfaction with measures being adopted by the Government to boost the cocoa industry.

They particularly cited the mass spraying and the hi-tech programmes, which they said had greatly helped to increase yields to further sustain their interests in farming.

They said this at separate forums organised by a number of communities when Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister undertook a three-day inspection tour of the district last week. They held that the programmes, in addition to regular increases in the farm-gate price, had led to improved income of many farmers. Even though the sector is said to be in the minor season, the Regional Minister and his entourage, including newsmen saw large volumes of cocoa beans being dried in the communities.

The communities visited were Bonsu-Nkwanta, Bodi, Adjoafua, Debiso, Essam, Suiano, Adabokrom, Kantankrubo, Kofikrom, Sayerano, Asuontaa, Nkatieso, Benchima and Elluokrom.

There were also cocoa trees bearing pods some of which were ripe as one drove by some of the farms, raising hopes for a good harvest in the next major season.

At Sefwi-Bodi, Nana Kwame Nkrumah, chief of the town said cocoa farming had suddenly become lucrative comparatively, thereby attracting the youth.

Nana Osei Sarpong, Chief of Debiso said many farmers were now able to meet family commitments including the payment of school fees of their children.

The farmers urged the authorities to streamline the mass spraying exercise in order to achieve its impact.

Mr Aidoo gave the assurance that government would sustain the current programmes, including payment of bonuses and supply of fertilizers as part of its commitment to boost the sector.