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22.11.2004 Regional News

Ensure proper fermentation of cocoa -District Chief Farmer

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Agona Nsaba, Nov 22, GNA - Cocoa farmers have been urged to ensure the proper fermentation of their produce for Ghana to maintain its position as the leading producer of quality cocoa beans in the world. This will enable the country to earn more foreign exchange, the Agona District Chief Farmer, Nana Kofi Agyekum II, has said. He noted that the nation lost millions of foreign currency due to poor fermentation and foreign matter in cocoa beans.

Nana Agyekum, who is also the Adontenhene of the Agona Nsaba Traditional Area, was speaking at a durbar at Nsaba as part of the activities marking this year's annual Akwambo and Yam Festivals of the Chiefs and people of the area.

He noted that "Ghana is rated as number one quality cocoa producer in the World and we must hold on to this to the satisfaction of our customers".

Nana Agyekum called on officials of the Quality Control Division (QCD) of the Ghana COCOBOD to liase with district chief farmers to educate farmers on the need to adhere strictly to the six-day fermentation period.

He regretted that some cocoa farmers failed to comply with the rule, which made Ghana's cocoa unique.

Nana Agyekum advised cocoa farmers to take the education of their children seriously to enable them to benefit from the COCOBOD scholarship scheme.

He noted that only one percent of farmers' children were enjoying the scholarship and appealed to the Scholarship Secretariat to consider them instead of restricting it to only pupils who obtained not more than aggregate 12 in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The District Chief Farmer pointed out that since most of the children of cocoa farmers attended less endowed schools in rural areas, which lacked facilities and teachers it was difficult for them to obtain high grades to benefit from the scheme even though it was established with funds from the toil and sweat of their parents.

Nana Agyekum called on Ghanaians to ensure that the December 7, 2004 general election was peaceful, saying, they should avoid violence, which had plunged some neighbouring countries into conflicts and wars.

He advised political party supporters and sympathisers to exercise restraint in their campaign and said, "God has already chosen the people who will rule the nation and we should only support them with prayers".

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