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10.08.2004 Regional News

Farmers warned against politicising cocoa spraying exercise

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Cashierkrom (B/A), Aug. 10, GNA - Farmers who politicise the cocoa spraying exercise and prevent gangs from spraying their cocoa farms will be arrested and prosecuted.

Mr Philip Nyaho Dartti, National Manager of Cocoa Disease and Pest Control in-charge of logistics, who gave the warning on Tuesday said,

"The exercise is not in the interest of individuals and or people belonging to a particular party, but to ensure that every cocoa farm benefits in order to stop pests from attacking cocoa pods and trees."

Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the national launch of this year's cocoa spraying exercise campaign at Cashierkrom in the Sunyani municipality, he said a farmer at Wenchi was arrested last year during the exercise for preventing gangs from spraying his farm.

Mr Dartti advised the public not to politicise initiatives that seek national progress, adding: "A lot of money has been pumped into the exercise and nobody will be allowed to interfere with the exercise for his or her selfish interests."

He explained that if a farm was sprayed leaving another in the same vicinity, the disease could still spread to the farm that had been sprayed and that would amount to a waste of money and resources.

The national manager gave the assurance that the exercise would continue till December to ensure that every cocoa farm was sprayed to increase production.

Mr Ebenezer K. Gyasi, National Project Coordinator said about 45,000 persons had been employed for the exercise throughout the country.

"The exercise has yielded positive results and farmers, society and the general public as a whole can testify to this." he said. The project co-ordinator said to boost the morale of the spraying gangs, government had raised their allowance to encourage them to perform to expectation.

He said the exercise had also created jobs for many unemployed youth saying, Brong Ahafo had employed 6,650 persons with about 25 gangs in the Sunyani Municipality.

Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Regional Minister noted that the timely intervention of the government saved the country from losing its position as a leading cocoa producer in the world.

He urged the gangs to consider that they were not working for the farmers but for themselves and for the nation and urged them not to be discouraged about the challenges in the work.

The Regional Minister and his entourage later inspected the cocoa farm of Nana Kwame Adama, Regional Best Cocoa and Cashew Farmer for 2003-2004 at Cashierkrom.

Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Municipal Chief Executive and Nana Kwadwo Benkai, Municipal chief farmer, accompanied the Regional Minister.

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