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12.10.2004 Regional News

Cocobod awards hardworking farmers

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Assin Manso (C/R) Oct. 12, GNA - Thirty-eight persons, comprising cocoa farmers, commissioned marketing clerks (CMC's) and other workers in the cocoa industry in the Central Region, were on Tuesday presented with various prizes, for emerging the best in their various categories, during the 2003/2004 cocoa harvesting seasons.

Opanin Joseph Oduro Koram, a 69 years old cocoa farmer from Twifo Praso was adjudged the best farmer and received two packets of roofing sheets, a pair of Wellington boots, 4 cutlasses, a lantern and certificate, at the ceremony, which was held at Assin- Manso. Three other best farmers, from each of the region's seven cocoa administrative districts, each received prizes comprising a packet of roofing sheets, a half piece of wax print, a lantern, two cutlasses and a certificate.

Seven best CMC's, were also honoured, with the first prize going to Mr Wilberforce Buabeng from Twifo Praso. He took home two bicycles and a wall clock, while the rest were given a bicycle each. Seven treasurers who assist the CMC's in their work were also awarded with a full piece of wax print, a pair of Wellington boots, two cutlasses and a certificate, each.

Mr Bismark Menya from Cape Coast district, was adjudged the best depot headman, and for his prize, he took home a wall clock and a certificate.

In an address, Mr Isaac Edumadze, the regional Minister said the government would continue to improve upon the basic infrastructure such as roads in appreciation of the sacrifices of farmers in the rural areas.

He said government would also vigorously pursue the programme to extend water and electricity to all communities in the region and the country at large.

"We will continue to ensure that all children of school-going age in the remote and deprived communities benefit from basic and secondary education through improved Cocobod scholarship scheme", he added. The Minister congratulated the award winners for their great achievement and urged them to vote massively to return the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to power during the elections, since it has shown concern for the "farmer and the down-trodden".

Mr Owusu Boakye, Managing Director of PBC, in a speech read for him, reiterated that there were a number of packages available to farmers under the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRSP).

All of these packages, he said, aimed at economic empowerment of farmers, but explained that they could only be accessed through identifiable local or community-based self-help groups.

Mr Kwabena Karikari Apau, District Chief Executive for Assin North, cautioned PBC clerks, to refrain from cheating the farmers to avoid prosecution, when caught.

He urged the farmers to patronise the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to benefit from quality and cheaper health care. The DCE, advised those who could not win any prizes, to work hard to enable them to win awards.

Barima Kwame Nkyi XII, Omanhene of Assin Apimanim, who presided advised the award winners not to relent on their efforts but work harder in order win more honours in future.

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