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16.02.2009 Business & Finance

Cocoa Board urged to locate buyers at Shia area to stop smuggling


Mr. John Nana Kow-Acquah, Head of Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) post at Shia, in the Ho Municipal area has appealed to the Ghana Cocoa Board to place a produce buyer in the area to stop the rampant smuggling of cocoa beans into Togo.

He said it appeared cocoa farmers were being forced to carry their dried beans across the frontier into Togo because of the unavailability of a buying centre within easy reach there.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Shia on Monday Mr. Kow-Acquah said this situation was putting a lot of strain on CEPS personnel trying to prevent the farmers from smuggling the beans.

He said Togolese cocoa buying merchants were cashing in on the situation by crossing over from Togo with weighing machines to locate, buy and illegally transport the produce in bags to Togo.

Mr. Kow-Acquah said the only cocoa buying depot at Kpedze serving cocoa producing areas stretching from Atikpui through Nyive, Shia, Klave and Kpedze areas did not open regularly to serve farmers.

He said this situation had left the farmers with the choice between transporting their produce at a cost, looking for buyers in Ghana or the ready market offered by Togolese cocoa merchants.

Mr Kow-Acquah said CEPS had lately seized weighing scales from some of the alleged Togolese cocoa beans buyers.

On import business across the Shia frontier, he said the Togolese government's restriction of exports into Ghana to only two frontiers had greatly slackened commerce at the Shia, Nyive and Honuta border posts.

He said one challenge facing his post was battling smugglers of imitation African wax prints.