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22.06.2005 Regional News

Cocoa hi-tech project under threat

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Kuntanase (Ash), June 22, GNA - The Cocoa Hi-tech Project started in 2001 for farmers in cocoa growing areas faces eminent danger as a result of the refusal of some farmers to pay for the fertiliser supplied them. For instance, out of the over 200 million cedis expected to be collected in the Bosomtwe-Atwima-Kwanwoma District in the Ashsnti Region, only 12 million cedis had so far been paid and the situation is not different in the other regions.

Mr Bright Addai-Mununkum, the acting District Chief Executive for Bosomtwe-Atwima-Kwanwoma, said these when he was addressing a forum of the district branch of the Ghana Cocoa, coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (GCCSFA) at Kuntanase on Tuesday. He said to avoid incurring a huge debt, the government had decided to reduce the quantity of fertiliser to be supplied to the districts.

Mr Addai-Mununkum said this explained why even though last year, the district was allocated 9,000 bags of the fertiliser, only 1,800 bags were actually supplied to farmers this year. He appealed to the cocoa farmers to pay for the fertilizer they received so that the project could be sustained.

Mr Mathew Adarkwa, the District Chief Farmer, called on the farmers to help sustain the kilogramme deduction of cocoa from their produce as initiated by the association towards projects to enhance their welfare. He called for increase in the number of spraying gangs in the district from 13 to 17 and the quantity of chemicals supplied for the exercise, describing the present quantity as grossly inadequate.

Mr Gbamata Dery, the District Director of Agriculture, announced that the spraying exercise in the district will commence in the first week of July and that all the needed chemicals were ready. He asked the farmers to be watchdogs on the spraying gangs so as to prevent them from diverting chemicals to the open market, which he said was the common practice now.

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