With Free Fertilizer & Mass Spraying
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has responded to the cry of Ghanaian cocoa farmers by resuming, the annual “Mass Cocoa Spraying” exercise in cocoa growing areas throughout the country for the 2013/14 cocoa season.
It is also distributing free fertilizers to farmers across the country, under the instrumentality of COCOBOD Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Stephen Opuni.
The Herald is informed that cocoa farmers in the Western, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Central and Volta regions, are excited about the initiatives which obviously would see an increment in their yields, purchase price, as well as bonuses.
The exercise has already commenced, especially in Western Region.
Meanwhile, the Board has put in checks and balances to prevent crooks hiding behind the institution to perpetuate crime against farmers by diverting the fertilizers, as well as the insecticides.
Insiders told “The Herald” that some officers, who have been implicated in one report or the other have been booted out of office, while others have been transferred from their comfort zones.
On smuggling of Ghana’s quality cocoa beans to neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast, the COCOBOD had put in place stringent measures to reduce the phenomenon.
The Board is also busily chasing and collecting huge debts owed it by cocoa beans buyers; both Ghanaians and foreigners.
Meanwhile, the Cedi is expected to see some significant stability, as well as strengthen against major international currencies in the coming weeks.
This follows the finalization of the agreement for the US$2 billion cocoa syndicated loan for the 2013/2014 cocoa season.
Barring any last minute changes, partner banks to COCOBOD’s syndicated loan will on Thursday September 11, 2014, sign the agreement to release funds for the purchase of cocoa beans.
COCOBOD had earlier announced that it would seek 1.8 billion dollars, this year, for its syndicated loan.
However, Finance Minister, Seth Tekper, later announced that this figure would be increased to 2 billion dollars.
Last year, COCOBOD signed a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from international banks for the 2013/14 cocoa crop purchases as against $1.5 billion for 2012/13.
The credit facility between COCOBOD and a consortium of international and local banks was led by French lender Societe General. The COCOBOD syndicated loan is used to purchase cocoa beans from farmers. Seth Tekper has said that the increase is due to COCOBOD’s increase in expenditure.