Cocoa farmers appeal to government to open cocoa season

Cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region have appealed to the government to open the cocoa season early enough to enable them to sell their produce to reduce the economic hardship facing them.

The farmers observed that almost one week to the re-opening of the Junior and Senior High Schools, the government had still not announced the opening of the new season to enable them get money to sponsor their wards.

They have, therefore, appealed to the government to consider their plight and to open the season on time.

The farmers made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Koforidua at a farmers’ forum and to mark the 10th anniversary of the listing of the Produce Buying Company (PBC) on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

The anniversary, under the theme: “Maintaining the Leadership role of PBC in the Cocoa and Shea nut Business,” attracted cocoa farmers from all the 11 districts of the company of the region.

The deputy Eastern Regional Best Farmer, Nana Kwadwo Asiedu, said the delay in opening of the cocoa season had often compelled some of the farmers to sell their cocoa to the buying companies at the old price, which do not help them because the purchasing clerks later re-sell the produce when new prices are announced for profit.

The Eastern Regional Manager of PBC, Mr Kwame Mark-Addo, reiterated that the cocoa industry is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, accounting for about 75 percent of national agricultural export earnings, and employing about three million people directly and indirectly.

He said the PBC, established in 1947, under the name, Cocoa Purchasing Company, went through several changes until October, 1983 when the name was changed to the Produce Buying Company Limited.

Mr Mark-Addo said in September 1999, PBC was incorporated as a public limited liability company under the companies’ code of 1963.

He said in May 2000, PBC was enlisted as a licensed Buying Company at the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Mr Mark-Addo said in spite of a keen competition from 25 competitors, the PBC commands an average market share of 47 percent.

The Eastern Regional Quality Control Officer of the company, Mr Emmanuel Obeng, said one major problem confronting the company in the region is improper fermentation of the cocoa beans, which brings about the purple beans problems.

Source: GNA

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