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17.11.2006 Business & Finance

Cocoa marketing clerks warned against buying cocoa on credit

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- The government has made available adequate Akuafo cheques, seed funds and cocoa sacks to meet demands of cocoa purchasing this season and Cocoa Marketing Clerks (CMCs) have no excuse to buy cocoa this season on credit.

Mr Anthony Osei Boakye, Managing Director of the Produce Buying Company (PBC), announced this in a speech read for him at the sixth annual farmers' award ceremony instituted by the PBC to honour its loyal farmers at Assin Foso.

Forty-seven farmers from Foso, Assin Manso and Assin Breku districts of the PBC were presented with prizes including radio sets, solar torchlights, Willington boots and cutlasses.

Mr Boakye advised the farmers to report to district managers any cases of non-payment for cocoa delivered, especially if a week elapsed without receiving their cheques or money.

He explained that the company's decision to stop pre-financing cocoa purchases was to check abuse of the system to exploit the farmers and the company by marketing clerks and assured farmers that the company would assist them to obtain financial support from the banks.

He said some clerks had been dismissed this year due to bad practices that affected farmers and the company.

Mr Boakye said the company had identified farmers who were eligible for the ADB Gold Drive for Farmers under which vehicles would be provided to farmers on hire purchase and their names had been forwarded to the government.

He announced plans to get farmers who were with PBC, to access the Millennium Challenge Accounts to expand their farms and that the company was in touch with Data Bank to assist farmers through education and investment options in the management of their incomes.

Mr Fred Amponsah, Central Regional Manager of the company urged farmers to adopt good fermentation practices to prevent production of purple beans, which was defaming Ghana's cocoa.

Mr Amponsah stated that the awards were to show the company's appreciation for their services and that the farmers should not view it as a way of solving their problems.

Mr Kobena Karikari-Apau, Assin North District Chief Executive advised farmers to monitor the cocoa forum spraying programme to prevent the sprayers from abusing it.

He advised them not to rely solely on government for the spraying of their farms. They should individually come together to buy the spraying machines and the recommended insecticides and spray the farms when necessary.

Mr Michael Sewu, Assin Foso District Quality Control Officer in a speech read for him advised farmers to plant disease resistant, early fruiting and high yielding seedlings from the Seed Production Unit of the COCOBOD.

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