Nkawkaw, Nov. 27, GNA - The Government has released 100 billion cedis through the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for the purchase of cocoa beans by the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other licensed buying companies (LBC) in the Eastern Region, since the commencement of this year's major cocoa purchasing season in October.
16 billion cedis is being spent weekly by the purchasing clerks of the various companies to purchase cocoa beans from farmers in the region.
The Eastern Regional Manager of the PBC, Mr Gershon Kpikpitse, announced this at the fifth PBC Nkawkaw District Farmers Award ceremony at Nkawkaw on Friday, where 142 cocoa farmers from 36 PBC Societies were honoured for selling their cocoa beans to the Company in the communities.
The farmers received items like Wellington Boots, cutlasses, pieces of cloth, solar lamps and certificates, Mr Kpikpitse advised cocoa farmers to accept the Akuafo Cheques system as the mode of payment for all cocoa purchased, since that would ensure security of their monies and also urged them to ensure the proper application of the high- tech fertilizer to increase production. He advised them to maintain the six-day fermentation period and ensure two turning period to reduce the high rate of purple beans in the country's cocoa produce, so she could maintain her high quality cocoa produce on the world market.
In an address, read on his behalf, the Managing Director of the PBC, Mr Owusu Boakye, who spoke on the theme "Cocoa Farmer, the Marketing Clerk and the Akuafo Cheque, the Way Forward", advised farmers to continue selling their produce to the PBC to ensure prompt payment. Mr Boakye said research had established that purple beans production were due to inadequate fermentation period and drying through the adoption of unapproved and abridged processes, which affected the country's premium quality cocoa derived from good and complete fermentation processes.
The Senior Quality Control Officer in-charge of the district, Mr Rashid Adams, said any cocoa beans with 45 purple content after grading, would be declared "sub-standard" and would be paid 50 per cent of the purchase price and therefore urged the farmers to ensure proper fermentation of their cocoa beans.
The District Chief Farmer, Mr Sampson Osei Appiah, called on the government to ensure early release of funds for the purchase of cocoa when the purchasing season is announced.
Mr Emmanuel Kofi Sefah, who produced 229 bags of cocoa beans during the major purchasing season, was adjudged the best cocoa producer in the district and was presented with a pair of Willington boots, two cutlasses, a half-peace of cloth, a Solar Lamp and a certificate as his award.