Agona Nyakrom, C/R, April 18, GNA - The government has paid a total of 1.7 billion cedis to about 1,000 cocoa farmers affected by the swollen shoot virus in the Nyakrom District of the Central Region to enable them to re-plant their farms.
Mr T.A. Kusi-Appiah, Central Regional Manager of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Unit announced this when he presented cheques totalling 130 million cedis to 74 cocoa farmers at Nyakrom on Wednesday. He said: "The money is replant grant to enable you to re-plant the affected farms," adding that, the farms were cut down in 2002 following the outbreak of the disease.
Mr Kusi-Appiah noted that the bulk cheque for the Central Region was received on March 21 and said the issuing of individual cheques was delayed because the funds did not arrive early. The Regional Manager denied allegations by some cocoa farmers that officials of the Unit had invested the money in treasury bills and other businesses.
He explained that as at April 6, 2005, 660 cocoa farmers in the Nyakrom District had received their cheques totalling 1.billion cedis. Mr Kusi-Appiah appealed to cocoa farmers to exercise restraint and contact the official at both District and Regional offices of Unit to seek clearance from them instead of peddling rumour. Mr Kojo Annan, a farmer and a recipient of the replant grant advised farmers who were peddling falsehood about the officials of the Unit to desist from such acts because it created serious problems between officials and the farmers. He confessed that when the money was not forthcoming he mobilised about 70 farmers to besiege the District office of the Unit at Agona Nyakrom and attack the Manager Mr Yaw Kyere for non-payment of their replant grants. Mr Annan expressed regret about a publication caused by some cocoa farmers in the Nyakrom District accusing officials of the Unit at the District and Regional offices for diverting the money for other purposes.