Nyankpala, (NR), Nov. 24, GNA - The Ghana Cocoa Board and the Cocoa Research Institute have been urged to handover the Bole Sheanut Research Station in the Northern Region to the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Osofo Patrick A. Apullah, General Secretary of the Apex Farmers Organisation of Ghana (AFOG), who made the appeal in an interview with the GNA at Nyankpala on Thursday, said the station fell within the mandate area of SARI, adding that, such a move would enhance effective research development of the crop.
He noted that the 2006 budget did not mention anything meaningful about sheanut and coffee even though the crops had become useful commodities on the World market.
Osofo Apullah said the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, mentioned in Accra during the launch of the 2005 National Farmers Day that the government had made provisions in the budget to assist cocoa farmers to acquire decent houses and vehicles to help improve their livelihoods.
He said, "as at now we do not know the measures the government had put in place to revamp the sheanut and coffee industries, pointing out that in the past cocoa, sheanut and coffee were mixed exportable commodity but the same cannot be said today".
"Stakeholders in government and other public officials in higher authority now only mention cocoa while nobody is doing anything to improve the sheanut and coffee industries", he said. "If in Ghana there is unfair trade in exportable commodities, how can the government go to the World Trade Organisation to fight for fair trade?" he asked.
Osofo Apullah, appealed to the government not to put all the nation's hope on cocoa alone, saying, there was no wisdom for a nation like Ghana to put her "eggs in one basket"
He described the practice as a "disaster" with the potential of collapsing the economy and called on the government to take steps to diversify agricultural crops with the potential of earning foreign exchange for the country.
In a related development, Osofo Apullah called on farmers to harvest cotton on time for early purchase by the Cotton Companies. He warned farmers against diversion of seed cotton to companies that did not pre-finance their operations and urged companies to make prompt payment to farmers to enable them to buy grains for their families.
He reminded both farmers and the cotton companies that a kilogramme of seed cotton for the 2005 season was 3,000 cedis and urged them to "stand for that".
Osofo Apullah said most farmers in the region were expecting a bumper harvest of cotton this year, adding, "the yields this year are good and farmers are expecting more cash in their pockets".