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Regional News of Saturday, 31 December 2005

Source: GNA

Don't compromise country's cocoa - Chief farmer

Kumasi, Dec 31, GNA - Nana Amankwatia, Ashanti Regional Chief Farmer of the Ghana Cocoa, coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (GCCSFA), has challenged cocoa farmers to resolve to do away with negative practices that could compromise the quality of Ghana's cocoa on the international market. He admonished them to stop the rush for "quick money" which forces them not to ferment and dry the cocoa properly, resulting in a purple coloration on the beans.

The emergence of the purple beans, Nana Amankwatia said, had affected the foreign exchange earnings of the country since badly prepared cocoa is rejected on the international market. In a New Year message to cocoa farmers, he urged them to turn a new leaf and prepare the beans the way they were taught by their forebears to enable Ghana regain her position as number one producer of quality cocoa worldwide. Nana Amankwatia said it is only when the country sells quality cocoa that the government would make enough money to meet farmers' demands of increases in the producer price. He said the regional executive of GCCSFA would begin a regional tour early next year to inspect how farmers were adhering to the proper procedure for fermenting and drying of the cocoa and warned that any farmer who would be found not adhering to the proper procedure would be dealt with drastically.

The regional chief farmer appealed to the government to provide sacks as a matter of urgency to the societies to bag cocoa some of which are lying on the ground. He said some society secretaries are forced to pour the beans on the ground due to the lack of sacks to bag them and also asked farmers to insist on being paid with the Akuafo cheques. Nana Amankwatia also warned the farmers against setting bush fires in the current dry season. He wished all farmers a happy and prosperous New Year and hoped they will resolve to work harder in the coming year.