Business News of Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Government is to set up an effective team to investigative the diversion of cocoa inputs, and anybody found guilty will be punished, President John Dramani Mahama has said.
“Government will punish people engaged in diversion of cocoa inputs in the farming communities. The practice is stifling increased production of the crop and endangering the hard work of cocoa farmers. If we fail to report wrongdoing, we will be retarding the country’s development,” he said.
President Mahama, who was speaking at Subin Camp in the Adansi South district of the Ashanti Region, called on the public to expose and report such corrupt activities in the farming communities.
He attributed the reduction in cocoa production to over-aged cocoa trees — adding that Cocobod is providing 50 million improved cocoa seedlings to farmers, and urged them to use the facility to increase production.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is supplying 50 million hybrid seedlings that have high yields and are resistant to diseases freely to farmers to replace aged cocoa trees on their farms.
He said the cocoa replacement exercise is important and must be taken seriously because of the inherent benefits.
He assured cocoa farmers that no effort will be spared by the government to support them in improving on their yields.
“Although Ghana is only the world’s second-highest producer of cocoa, it has refreshingly maintained its position as producer of the highest quality cocoa beans globally.”
He gave the assurance that the five kilometers of New Edubiase roads will be tarred while other cocoa farming community roads will be worked on to facilitate the movement of foodstuffs from the rural areas to marketing centres.
President Mahama promised to enhance community development to open-up less known communities. He cut the sod for construction of the 22-kilometre road from Atasi-Nkwanta to Owusukrom in the district, and attributed the reduction in cocoa production to some corrupt practices in the sector.
Nana Okofo Subin Kan II, Dompoasehene, commended government for construction of the cocoa roads, saying the crop remains the mainstay of most people in the district.