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15.09.2005 Regional News

Pay for Hi-Tech inputs - Co-ordinator tells farmers

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Manso-Nkwanta (Ash), Sept.15, GNA - Cocoa farmers have been urged to pay for the inputs supplied them under the hi-tech programme to sustain it.

Dr Michael Appiah, Co-ordinator of the programme, said since the introduction of the programme about two years ago, most of the farmers have not paid for the inputs.

He was speaking at a farmers' forum at Manso-Nkwanta in the Amansie West district of Ashanti on the hi-tech application on Monday. Dr Appiah regretted that about 90 percent of farmers who contract loans deliberately fail to pay back and said this was one of the factors militating against their getting financial assistance from the banks. He advised them to change the negative attitude to avoid being described as not credit worthy.

Dr Appiah reiterated the importance of cocoa to the economy as the number one foreign exchange earner and asked the farmers to be proud of being associated with the industry.

Nana Alex Mensah, District Chief Farmer, attributed the failure of farmers to pay back the loans to the low yield of cocoa over the last years.

He appealed to staff of the Cocoa Services Division to visit farmers to enable them reap the full benefit of their venture. The farmers entreated the government to give them up to the close of this year's cocoa season to pay for the inputs and to pay 300,000 cedis per farmer who collected new inputs for application on his or her farm.

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