Koforidua, Nov. 27, GNA - The Produce Buying Company (PBC) has purchased 8,000 tonnes of cocoa, worth 72 billion cedis in the Eastern Region within the first six weeks of the new cocoa season, which began in October.
The Eastern Regional Manager of the PBC, Mr Sakyi Otopa, announced this at the 5th Farmers Awards Day for cocoa farmers in the Koforidua/Nankese District at Asokore, near Koforidua on Friday.
In all, 33 cocoa farmers from 20 PBC cocoa societies were presented with cutlasses, certificates, half-pieces of wax prints, solar lanterns and Wellington boots.
The Regional Best Farmer, Nana Boakye Akoto, Chief of Kotokuom in the Birim North District, receiving a 20" colour television set for selling 400 bags of cocoa to the company, during the major season. The second Best Regional Farmer, Mr Peter L. K. Boateng of Asokore and the third Best Farmer, Mr Edward Out Pabi of Densuano, received a solar lantern each.
Mr Otopa said a total of 144 farmers in the Eastern Region were being rewarded this year for their loyalty to the company. He explained the recent delays in the payment for cocoa bought, to the release of funds in segments by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) after the validation of the beans by the Quality Control Division. Mr Otopa reiterated the advise to cocoa farmers to keep to the six-day fermentation and two-time turning of the beans before drying to check the incidence of the purple bean infestation.
In an address read on his behalf, the Managing Director of the PBC, Mr Owusu Boakye, stressed the need for cocoa farmers to accept the Akuafo Cheque system as payment for the cocoa beans sold, since it had several benefits for them, including security of cash.
On the purple beans syndrome, he said research had established that the purple beans were produced when there was inadequate fermentation and drying of the beans through the adoption of unapproved and abridged processes.
Mr Boakye reminded them that the country's premium quality cocoa was derived from long-time adoption of good and complete fermentation processes, saying, it was important that this premium status on the world market was maintained.
The New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Kwasi Adjei Boateng, commended cocoa farmers for helping to sustain the country's economic growth and assured that government would continue to devise policies that would motivate them to improve on their output. He, therefore, asked to interact with extension officers and adopt improved methods of production to eliminate the purple bean syndrome to ensure that the country maintained the premium quality produce on the world market.
Nana Adjei Boateng asked them to adopt the Akuafo cheque payment, pay for the fertilizers supplied them on credit and urged landowners to release lands to the youth to go into farming. Nov. 27, 05