Business News of Friday, 14 December 2012

Source: B&FT

Nzema East cocoa farmers call for re-zoning

The Nzema East Cocoa Farmers Association (NECFA) in the Western Region is calling on the Ghana COCOBOD and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for a separate zoning of the district for easy identification and inclusion in national cocoa incentive schemes.

Under the cocoa zoning scheme, the association says that it has been placed under the Aowin Suaman district, which relatively puts them at a disadvantage in relation to other cocoa farmers located within

Speaking in an interview with the B&FT, Mr. Ben Atiamo, and the Chairman of NEFCA pointed out that the major cocoa depots have been situated at Takoradi and Enchi, hence, there is no credit for the Nzema cocoa growing areas.

“As a result members of the Nzema East district co-operative cocoa farmers association do not receive any bonus because they are caught up in between the two districts” he said.

Also, he said for this same reason, Nzema East district co-operative cocoa farmers association in marginalized during mass spraying exercise and cocoa scholarship schemes, thus reducing yield per acre and this is negatively affecting total productivity.

He explained that zoning the district will have positive impacts on the standard of living of the farmers, boost the local economy, reduce unemployment and contribute to poverty alleviation in the NECFA districts.

Ultimately, he said this will result in the sector contributing significantly to Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings and Gross Domestic Products (GDP). Mr. Atiamo says, the association, with support from the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund is embarking on an advocacy action to train farmers to understand and know how to advocate, conduct a research and to use results to sensitize stakeholders as well as form a coalition of cocoa farmers in the Western Region.

Also, he said the advocacy is to create awareness about the plight of NECFA, stimulate stakeholder interest in their conditions and pushing for a policy framework for capturing NECFA in the cocoa map of Ghana.