Smuggling of cocoa in the Volta Region is affecting the quality of cocoa in the region.
This is because farmers are no longer fermenting their cocoa since the smugglers who approach them are ready to buy the beans at any stage of processing whether dry or not.
Addressing a cocoa farmers' forum here under COCOBOD's intensified education programme to make farmers improve upon the quality of their cocoa, Mr. Okwam Osam-Dade, the Regional Quality Control Manager said the region, which last year produced the best cocoa now produces more purple beans.
"From October to January this year, what we have got now contained 37 per cent purple beans as against 24 per cent for the whole of last year," he regretted.
He told them that Ghana's cocoa is consumed all over the world and is also regarded as the best in quality so they should strive to maintain that standard.
He said most farmers complained about late payments for their beans compelling them to sell to smugglers who come to their door steps.
Mr.Osam-Dade also warned the farmers against using child labour on their farms.
He said because of reports of child labour, their imposters are asking them to submit reports showing that children had not been exploited.
He said during the last cocoa season, the region produced 1000 tonnes of cocoa but as at the end of January this year, they have been able to sell 400 tonnes to the Produce Buying Company.
Mr.V.K Batse, the district chief farmer, said the young men are now taking up cocoa cultivation. As such, he said cocoa cultivation is picking up seriously in the district.
The forum was attended by farmers from Santrokofi, Akpafu and Hohoe.