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28.02.2006 Regional News

Consultative Forum on the cocoa sector held at Sekondi


Sekondi, Feb 28, GNA - Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, has said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) would establish an Emergency Task Force to look into problems facing the cocoa sector in the region and make recommendations.

He made the announcement at a one-day Consultative Forum for stakeholders in the Cocoa Industry at Sekondi.

Representatives of Licence Buying Companies (LBCs), District Chief Executives and Members of Parliament, among others, attended the forum. Mr Aidoo said effective monitoring mechanism should be put in place to ensure peace and unity among stakeholders of the cocoa industry in the region in view of the recent negative developments. He urged LBCs and the COCOBOD to live above reproach to ensure the cocoa industry did not suffer major setbacks to the disadvantage of the ordinary farmer.

Mr Kwame Sarpong, the former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, said problems facing the cocoa industry were caused by indiscipline.

Mr Sarpong said until greater discipline was introduced into the cocoa sector the problems cannot be solved. "Let us be honest with ourselves and do business the way business should be done".

He said authorities at the Takoradi and Tema had entered into agreement with COCOBOD to off load 65 trucks and 60 trucks of cocoa daily respectively and that LBCs are supposed to have their own storage facilities.

Mr Kwabena Oheneng-Tinyase, President of the Association of LBCs, said lack of warehouses and non-availability of space at the ports had compounded congestion at the ports.

He said LBCs were not pleased about the situation because they are losing a lot of money.

Mr Oheneng-Tinyase suggested that more education be given to farmers to prevent bubble cocoa beans from entering the market. On non-payment of money due cocoa farmers, he said it was due to communication and logistic problems, inefficiencies at the banks and the Akuafo Cheque System.