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18.11.2005 General News

Purple cocoa beans caused by improper fermentation

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Hohoe, Nov. 18, GNA - Mr Kwesi Bediako-Addey, Volta Regional Manager of Produce Buying Company Limited on Wednesday said improper fermentation and drying of cocoa beans by farmers caused the purple colouration of cocoa beans in the industry.

This he said had led to the delay in the payment of cocoa beans bought by the Company to farmers in the region but not lack of funds. Mr Bediako-Addey speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) recently released 764 billion cedis as an initial payment for cocoa purchased for the 2005/2006 cocoa season nationwide, "therefore could not be cash strapped."

He said although, the region's weekly allocation, varied and dependent largely on the volume of cocoa beans available for purchase, one billion cedis had been allocated to the region.

"Our problem is the quality and standard of cocoa beans and not money," he stressed.

Mr Bediako-Addey said risks associated with protecting the country's premium cocoa beans including its quality and standards were sometimes compromised resulting in smuggling of the lower grade of the commodity to Togo.

He said the anxiety of cocoa farmers to respond to financial obligations necessitated the smuggling.

The Regional Manager said as a result, the 28 licensed buying companies including PBC suffered immense loses from the purple coloured beans and therefore, appealed to cocoa farmers to strictly adhere to the fermentation and drying practices to sustain and maintain the premium of Ghana's cocoa.

Mr Bediako-Addey advised economic saboteurs to refrain from their nefarious activities or face the consequences, which might include the breakdown or the collapse of incentive packages such as scholarships. He said PBC would continue to embark on its information and education sensitisation scheme to create awareness on best practices in the cocoa industry.

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