Business News of Saturday, 5 August 2017
More than 5,000 bags of cocoa beans have been locked up in some communities in the Amenfi West District in the Western Region due to the poor state of roads, particularly in the Samreboi area.
The bad roads have made it extremely difficult for farmers to cart cocoa beans to the weighing centres and depots of the various licensed cocoa buying companies in the affected areas for sale.
The situation has been made worse as a result of continuing rains.
The Regional Manager of the Western South Region of the Quality Control Unit of the COCOBOD, Mr Francis Enyan, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic mentioned some of the affected communities as Mumuni, Tolompin, Gravel Yard, Prestea, Nkita, Baseke and Dorcas.
He said if nothing was done about the situation soon, the cocoa beans would rot and result in loss of income to the farmers.
Mr Enyan revealed this at a farmer’s durbar at Samreboi, where Unicom Ghana Ltd announced cocoa premium price to farmers.
The Regional Manager stated that besides farmers losing their income, the nation would also lose cocoa beans which in the long run would affect the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
He said records with the COCOBOD showed that the western south areas of the country had produced about 16 per cent of the nation’s cocoa over the past three years.
He said 14 per cent of the 16 per cent of cocoa produced in the area was from the Samreboi area, placing the zone among areas in the country that produced high volumes of cocoa.
Mr Enyan said the poor roads in the area would have to be rehabilitated immediately since besides the area was also noted for food crop production.
“If the current condition of the roads persists, farmers will find it difficult transporting their produce to market centres and this may lead to food shortages in the region,” he said.
He said he was troubled about cocoa roads being constructed close to district capitals, when in fact such roads ought to have been constructed in cocoa producing areas like Samreboi.
He called on the government to consider it as urgent and recondition the poor road network in the western south areas of the country as means of increasing cocoa production in the country.
“With the current state of affairs, staff of COCOBOD find it difficult to go to the hinterlands to render essential services to farmers. If this continues into the future cocoa production in the area will be severely affected,” he added.
He said, currently, the only means of carting cocoa in the area was by using tractors and in extreme cases motor bikes thus making travelling very difficult and expensive.