Payment of bonuses to cocoa farmers accruing from last year is to begin next week, Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, has announced.
He said this has come about following the President's directive issued recently that bonuses to the farmers should be processed for payment.
The Minister made this known in an address read on his behalf by Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, Deputy Regional Minister, at a durbar to commemorate the seventh Regional Cocoa Farmers' and workers' award ceremony at Offinso on Tuesday.
The ceremony organized by the Produce Buying Company (PBC) of the Ghana Cocoa Board was on the theme: "Produce Buying Company and the Cocoa Farmer: A Better Future".
Mr Owusu-Ansah urged the farmers and workers of the company to continue to work hard to ensure that the nation maintained its position in the league of world cocoa production.
Mr Anthony Osei-Boakye, Managing Director of the PBC, said the Company would as from the next cocoa crop year, drill a number of boreholes fixed with pumps in distressed cocoa growing communities in the country as a new phase of its social responsibility.
He said the Company was also in the process of diversifying further into the internal and external sheanut trade this season, stressing that it would be operated in the Northern, Upper East and Western regions.
Mr Fred Amponsah, Ashanti Regional Manager of the PBC, stressed the need for the farmers to work harder, saying that it was the aggregates of the few kilograms of cocoa the Company bought that brought the big scale that sustained the Company and the nation.
He appealed to those who did not win awards not to be discouraged but to work harder so that they would also receive recognition next year.
Nana Wiafe Akenten III, Paramount Chief of Offinso Traditional Area commended the farmers and urged them to continue to work harder and adopt proper husbandry practices to ensure that the nation derived maximum returns to promote the cocoa industry.
In all, 44 farmers from 18 districts of the Company's areas of operation were honoured with sets of cookware, full piece of Ghana @ 50 anniversary cloth, a pair of Wellington boots, two crocodile matchets and certificates each.
Another 187 farmers from the Company's societies in the region received awards.
Mr Yaw Ahenkora Afrifa, Ejisu-Juaben District Chief Executive and a farmer at New Edubiase was adjudged the best Regional Farmer and received a 21-inch colour Television, half piece Ghana @ 50 cloth, two crocodile matchets and a plaque.
Six workers of the Company were also honoured.