Kumasi, Feb 10, GNA - Mr Kwame Sarpong, Chief Executive of the Ghana cocoa Board (COCOBOD), on Thursday denied claims by sections of the media that Ghana's cocoa had been rejected on the international market on account of high proportion of purple beans in the supplies. "There is absolutely no truth in this".
Mr Sarpong said on the contrary, there is growing confidence and interest in the country's cocoa industry by the international business community. This has culminated in the provision of almost one billion dollars by a consortium of private financial institutions to the country for cocoa purchases in the 2004/05 seasons, something that is unprecedented in the history of the cocoa industry.
Mr Sarpong was addressing the opening of the fifth biennial delegates' conference of the Quality Control Division (QCD) Senior Staff Association in Kumasi. The conference, which coincided with the 10th anniversary celebration of the association, is being held under the theme, "A Decade of Existence, The Way Forward".
"Our resolve to ensure that the enviable image of the country's cocoa on the world market is never compromised,'' the COCOBOD Chief said. He warned that strong and punitive sanctions would be taken against both employees of the Board and Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) who dabble in unhealthy practices. Mr Sarpong noted that the liberalisation of the internal marketing of the crop that had brought about the proliferation of LBCs was not without its problems as some of the LBCs in their bid to out-do each other sometimes flout rules governing their activities.
He reminded members of the association that it behoved on them, as custodians of quality, to exhibit vigilance and expose all deviant elements and companies in the industry, adding, "do not accept to be influenced by any LBC". "Let us critically examine the level of confidence government reposes in us for the success of its efforts at improving the cocoa industry."
"If by our actions or inactions this confidence is rendered misplaced all these efforts would be in absolute vain", Mr Sarpong said.