Accra, Dec. 4, GNA - The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) on Saturday assured cocoa farmers that adequate amounts of seed money have been released to the licensed buying companies (LBCs) for the purchase of cocoa for the 2004/05 main crop, which began on October 22.
A joint statement in Accra signed for the Minister and Chief Executive of Cocobod said to date, more than 1.8 trillion cedis had been released to LBCs to buy cocoa from farmers.
It said farmers were, therefore, to send their produce to the buying centres for prompt payment and all LBCs should ensure that farmers were paid accordingly.
"LBCs, which do not cooperate in this exercise, will be severely sanctioned including even the withdrawal of their licences." The statement said the attention of the government and Cocobod had been drawn to rumours circulating in some cocoa growing communities to the effect that there were insufficient funds for purchases of the 2004/05 main crop.
It said on September 22, Cocobod signed a loan agreement of 850 million dollars with a number of international financial institutions for the financing of the 2004/05 crop purchases.
The Ministry and Cocobod urged farmers to adhere to proper fermentation and drying practices to maintain the premium quality associated with Ghana's cocoa beans.
The statement also noted that rumours were being spread that bonuses for the last season would not be paid.
"We wish to assure cocoa farmers that bonus payments, which are in progress, will be completed before the end of December 2004 and that every farmer will be paid."