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Gov’t puts up 26 affordable houses for cocoa farmers

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President John Dramani Mahama on Monday said government had within the 2011/2012 cocoa season constructed 26 affordable houses for cocoa farmers who would be expected to to repay with cocoa earnings.

He said the provision of accommodation was to enable cocoa farmers to acquire decent accommodation within a reasonable period of time in their various locations.

President Mahama said this during the 2012 Cocoa Producers Alliance (COPAL) celebration at Agona Swedru in the Central Region on the theme: “Cocoa Consumption for healthier life and sustainable Economy”

The COPAL celebration brings together cocoa farmers, processors and buyers to exhibit their goods and educate the public on the importance and benefits of cocoa consumption among all ages.

President Mahama said government, in partnership with the private sector, had re-introduced cocoa extension, which, he said, was critical to bridge the gap between research findings and the cocoa farmers in the catchment areas.

He said government had completed the distribution of 20 million hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge to hardworking cocoa farmers under the cocoa rehabilitation.

The President said the provision of the hybrid seedlings would not only improve the national production level, but would also enhance the incomes of the cocoa farmers in the cocoa producing areas of the country.

President Mahama said government had also funded and constructed the state of the art clinic at Debiso in the Western Region to provide first class services to the people around cocoa growing communities.

He denounced the destruction of cocoa trees for illegal gold mining and gave the assurance that government would step up security activities to bring culprits to book.

Dr Paul Nanga Coulibaly, Secretary General of COPAL, called on Ghanaians to consume more cocoa products to sustain the eight cocoa processing companies that were engaged in cocoa production throughout the country.

He explained that the world market would be overstock with cocoa products if producing countries did not increase the consumption levels and called for a comprehensive educational programme that would encourage more  Ghanaians to consume the product.

Mr Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, called on government to educate the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to substitute their breakfast with cocoa drinks to encourage all Ghanaians to consume cocoa.

He called on farmers and commercial entities engaged in cocoa processing to adhere to the rules and regulations governing the internal marketing of cocoa in order to be abreast of sanctions for malpractices in the market.

Source: GNA

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