24.04.2005 General News

Farmers demand streamlining of procedure for award of COCOBOD scholarships

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Kumasi April 24, GNA - Cocoa farmers in Ashanti have urged the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to streamline the procedure for the award of scholarships to students in Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) to make it more transparent and prevent abuses.

They complained that the process for selection of beneficiaries was flawed and created room for all sorts of fraudulent practices. "The result is that most students enjoying the facility are not children or wards of cocoa farmers and thus defeating the very objective for which the Board set it up," they complained These concerns were raised at a general meeting held by the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) in Kumasi at the weekend.

Nana Kwame Amankwatia, the Regional Chief Farmer, used the occasion to advice his colleagues to avoid unhealthy practices that could adversely affect the quality of the country's cocoa. "It is important we ensure that the beans are taken through proper fermentation, must be thoroughly dried with the mouldy and flat beans sorted out before sale".

The Regional Chief Farmer told them that it was only when they helped to maintain the premium on Ghana's cocoa that they could sustain the continued payment of bonuses to them and the mass spraying of their farms by the government.

Nana Amankwatia told them to clear their farms to make it easier for the cocoa spraying gangs to spray them when this year's exercise takes off.

The National Vice Chairman of the GCCSFA, Nana Kwaku Nyarko, said the farmers were grateful to the COCOBOD and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwame Sarpong, for the construction of the Kumasi Cocoa Clinic.

He said it was their expectation that the Board would provide it with the necessary equipment and facilities for efficient service delivery. "We want to see the Cocoa Clinic become a centre of excellence", he added. n

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