Dampong (Ash), Oct.18, GNA - Mr Joseph Koduah, Asante-Akim South District Quality Control Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has denied the assertion that chemicals and fertilizers being used under the cocoa hi-tech programme caused the purple colouration of cocoa beans in the country.
He said research conducted by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) negates this assertion because the findings did not show any bearings on cocoa beans.
Mr Koduah made the denial at a cocoa farmers and purchasing clerks forum at Dampong in the Asante-Akim South district at the weekend. He attributed the purple colouration of the beans to improper fermentation and drying of cocoa and therefore, advised cocoa farmers to stick to the old practice of the cocoa fermentation period to enable them produce good quality beans.
Mr Koduah said the effective fermentation period of cocoa was between six to seven days, adding" any fermentation period below these days can result in the colouration of the cocoa beans." He said another factor that could produce the purple cocoa beans was improper drying and asked the farmers to take time to dry the beans in the sun.
Mr Koduah stressed the need for Ghana to maintain her image as the world's leading producer of high quality cocoa beans and warned the purchasing clerks against buying sub-standard cocoa beans. He said officials of the Quality Control Division would deal drastically purchasing clerks who failed to comply to the directives. On education, Mr Koduah called on the farmers to refrain from child labour and send their children to school. Mr Albert Obuor, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) officer in-charge of the cocoa spraying exercise in the district, urged the cocoa farmers to co-operate with the spraying gangs to ensure success of the programme.
Mr Atta Agyemang, Assemblyman for Dampong, advised the spraying gangs to always use protective clothes provided to them to protect them from snakebites.
Nana Kwabi Gyapong, Adontenhene of the Bompata Traditional Area, commended the Management of COCOBOD for organizing the forum to educate the cocoa farmers.
He was optimistic that the farmers would ferment and dry their cocoa beans properly to enable the country maintain its image as the leading producer of quality cocoa beans. 18 Oct.05