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12.01.2006 Business & Finance

Cocoa industry calls for collaboration

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Accra, Jan. 12, GNA - Stakeholders in the Cocoa industry, have emphasised the need for increased collaboration to enhance the smooth operation of the sector to maintain Ghana's premium bean quality. They also reaffirmed their confidence in the current internal marketing arrangement and stressed the need for continuous efforts to ensure the production and delivery of good fermented cocoa. In a communiqu=E9 after a meeting on recent developments in the industry, especially complaints by some farmers on non-payment for purchases, the meeting resolved that COCOBOD should make available more funds and logistics such as jute sacks to the Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies.

The communiqu=E9 jointly signed by Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Tony Fofie, Deputy Chief Executive COCOBOD and Mr Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyase, President of the Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana, they called for collaboration among banks, cocoa farmers and LBCs to make the use of the Akuafo Cheque the mode of payment for cocoa purchases.

COCOBOD was asked to adopt additional measures to quickly off-load truckloads of cocoa take-over point at Tema and Takoradi to enable the LBCs to improve their operations.

The communiqu=E9 asked for the re-routing of cocoa from certain parts of the Western Region to Kaase-Kumasi Take-Over Centre to ease congestion at the Tema and Takoradi take-over centres. It condemned the alleged cross-border activities with the produce and asked those involved to desist from the practice, emphasizing that any offender caught would be prosecuted.

Besides the government would also collaborate with the Ivorian Authorities to check the illicit activities. On the purple bean problem, the stakeholder recognised that it was the result of inadequate fermentation and urged cocoa farmers to adhere strictly to the recommended six to seven days fermentation period with two turnings.

The communiqu=E9 called for the stepping up of farmer education with the active support and participation of all stakeholders. It asked farmers with complaints of non-payment of bonus in respect of the 2003/2004 main crop purchases to contact COCOBOD through the farmer's LBC for redress.

It further asked beneficiary farmers of the Cocoa HI-TECH programme to pay for the cost of the fertilizers and other inputs supplied to them on credit to ensure a sustained programme.