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17.06.2004 Regional News

Cocoa farmers in Brong Ahafo call for fresh elections

Cocoa farmers in Brong Ahafo call for fresh elections
LISTEN JUN 17, 2004

Sunyani (B/A) June 17, GNA - Cocoa farmers in Brong-Ahafo have appealed to the management of Ghana Cocoa Board to appoint an interim executive committee to steer the affairs of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) till the Electoral Commission conducted fresh and general elections for new executives.

The farmers, representing cocoa growing areas in the 11 administrative sectors of the region accused the current executives at the society, district, zonal, regional and national levels of non-transparency, non-accountability, overstay of tenure of office and their non-adherence to constitutional requirements.

In a statement, read on behalf of the farmers at a press conference in Sunyani on Thursday, Nana Akore Korsah, Sunyani district cocoa chief farmer of the Produce Buying Company (PBC), the farmers stated that the dormancy of the regional executives of the association had led to the closure of all the district input stores.

They maintained that the association was formed, among other things, to seek the general interest of farmers in the acquisition of inputs, to promote and maintain the well-being of members through the exchange of ideas and information and to educate members on how to improve the quality of their produce.

"Despite these laudable intentions and purposes, cocoa farmers in the region have in actual fact not benefited from the association for quite a long time due to the bad administration of the regional executive. . .", the farmers added.

The aggrieved farmers emphasized that a purported national delegates' conference of the association held at Bunso in the Eastern Region in April this year, during which the various executive committees were allegedly re-elected for another five-year-term "was not convened under the mandate of the majority of farmers in the country".

The farmers suggested the re-introduction of extension officers, formerly within the cocoa services division, but now drafted to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, since their services were beneficial to cocoa farmers.

"In spite of several attempts made to advise the current executives, who have unlawfully clinched on to power to have fresh elections conducted after every five-year term, as constitutionally provided, they have remained defiant.

"We the other members of the association wish to emphasize that we shall not leave any stone unturned to ensure that our constitution works effectively and efficiently", the farmers said.

They cautioned: "We wish to give notice to those holding executive positions and whose tenure of office has expired by effusion of time to advise themselves to leave office in their own interest, otherwise, they must be prepared to meet the association at the law courts to show cause why they should not be ordered to move out of office."

The farmers thanked the Government for the steps it was taking to ensure high scientific practices in the country for high cocoa yield. 17 June 04