General News of Saturday, 10 July 2010
Boinso (W/R), July 10, GNA - Security agencies at the Boinso border in the Western Region have been urged to intensify their operations to help minimize cocoa smuggling in the area.
The Executive Director of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit (CSSVDCU) of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Reverend Abeka Ewusi, said about 60 per cent of cocoa produced in the area and other parts of the Western Region were smuggled out of the country.
He, therefore, called on the Police, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Western Regional Coordinating Council, District Assemblies, chiefs, farmers and Assembly Members in the area to join hands to reverse the situation.
Rev. Ewusi made the appeal at the Regional Cocoa farmers rally at Boinso in the Western Region.
He said reports received from cocoa officers in the Region indicated that large quantity of cocoa produced in most parts of Western Region were not sold to the Ghana Cocoa Board, but rather smuggled into Ivory Coast without any explanation from the farmers.
The Executive Director described the figures as "outrageous and could undermined the efforts of government and the Ghana Cocoa Board to increase cocoa production.
Rev. Ewusi said despite this sad development, the government and COCOBOD have reached advance stage for the implementation of the Pension Scheme for cocoa farmers to alleviate their suffering.
The Executive Director stated that COCOBOD had reintroduced the cocoa extension service to offer modern technologies to the farmers to increase production.
He said government had outlined numerous measures to increase cocoa production, including supply of fertilizers at subsidized price and hybrid cocoa seedlings, payment of compensations to farmers whose diseased farms were cut down for replanting.
He urged cocoa farmers to form Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to enable them to receive financial assistance and other logistics support from government and the Ghana Cocoa Board.
He said the Unit would distribute a total of eight million hybrid cocoa seedlings to farmers in the Western Region this year.
Mr Francis Antwi Adjei, Western South Regional Manager of CSSVDCU said, to achieve the target of one million metric tons of cocoa by the 2012, farmers must work hard and apply the technical advice from the extension officers of the Unit.
He called on the farmers to embrace the Community Nursery Centers to help them to get supply of cocoa seedlings at their door steps and appealed to them to allow their infested farms to be cut down to reduce the spreading of the swollen shoot virus disease.
Nana Tandoh Boadi, Western Regional Chief Farmer appealed to government to construct roads in the cocoa growing communities to ensure easy cocoa evacuation.