The Government has been called upon to as a matter of urgency take stringent measures to curb the destruction of Cocoa farms by illegal small scale miners in cocoa growing areas.
Alhaji Iddris Hassan, Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of the Ghana COCOBOD, made the call at a public forum organized by the Ghana COCOBOD, at Dunkwa-On-Offfin, in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality of the Central Region for Cocoa farmers.
He lamented over the rate at which large cocoa farms were being destroyed as a result of activities of illegal small scale mining, saying if care was not taken and the menace persist, Ghana’s cocoa industry would suffer a serious setback.
He told the Government and the Minerals Commission to stop granting operating licenses to small scale miners whose operational areas were in the cocoa growing areas to save the cocoa farms.
Traditional authorities were also to refrain from selling out arable farm lands for mining activities.
Alhaji Hassan identified Dunkwa-On-Offin, Wassa Amenfi East- and West as some of the worse affected illegal mining areas where vast cocoa plantations have been destroyed.
He however, lauded the Government for the immense contribution towards the achievements of the Cocobod, some of which were the timely supply of fertilizers, chemicals, and the needed inputs for cocoa farmers thereby resulting in their ability to hit high-target in cocoa production.
He revealed that COCOBOD with the support of Government was able to secure a 1.7 billion US dollar loan from the syndicated loan during the 2014/2015 cocoa season for the purchase of cocoa and have since paid back the loan.
The Government intended to secure another 1.8 billion US dollar from the Syndicated loan during the 2015/2016 period to purchase farming inputs to enhance cocoa production in the country.
For his part the National Chief Farmer and President of the Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, called on the purchasing clerks of the Ghana COCOBOD to work sincerely with the cocoa farmers.
They should not take advantage of their ignorance on pertinent issues, but rather win their confidence and help increase cocoa production to boost the nation’s economy.
He charged cocoa farmers to sell their cocoa to recognized licensed buying companies to stem the diversion and smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries.
He also advised them to show keen interest in Government's efforts in the rehabilitation of cocoa roads in their areas, by reporting on the progress of work to the appropriate authorities
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