Unicom Commodities Ghana Ltd, a cocoa buying company in the country has announced the payment of GH¢2.5 million as premium for the 2017/2018 cocoa season.
A total of 13,743 farmers are expected to benefit from the package after selling their cocoa to the company within the season as each farmer takes home GH¢14.00 bonus for each bag of certified cocoa sold to the company.
The General Manager of Unicom Ghana Ltd, Mr Akwasi Onyinah Acheampong, was full of praise to the farmers for helping them buy a little over 10,352 tons of cocoa to the company last year.
He explained that the company was poised to complement government’s effort at attaining the one million tons of cocoa target within the year.
This, he said would be done by supporting the training of cocoa farmers on best farming practices, supply of inputs to the farmers, creation of other income generating activities all geared towards improving the standard of living of the farmers as well as improving productivity.
Mr Acheampong announced this at a farmer’s durbar at Wassa Akropong in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipality of the Western Region when he announced the premium for the 2017/2018 cocoa season.
The durbar brought together cocoa farmers form Assin Fosu, New Edubiase, Twifo Praso, Antoakrom, Dunkwa, Wassa Akropong and Bogoso among others.
He stated, the company has also introduced a farm management system to take over the management of the farm for a certain period of time after an agreement with the farmer. During this period, the company ensures prudent environmental, social, agricultural practices which will see the farms increase in yield and improve the farmers’ income and livelihood.
The western South Regional Manager, Quality Control Company (QCC), Mr Peter Attah Boakye, said the nation’s bid to achieve one million tons of cocoa at the end of the cocoa season this year would not be possible if cocoa farmers refuse to put into practice the various training initiatives being implemented by all stakeholders in the industry.
He said there was the need for all to put their shoulders to the wheel before the quality and quantity of the nation’s cocoa would see an increase.
The General Manager of Agroecom Ghana Ltd, Mr Ebenezer Mensah, cautioned the farmers not to buy cheap agro-chemicals which he said can negatively affect the quality and quantity of cocoa they would harvest.
He told the farmers to buy agro-inputs only from institutions and agents duly approved by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to avoid buying bad or unapproved chemicals.
The Paramount Chief of Wassa Amenfi traditional area, Tetreteh Okuamoah Sekyim II, in an address read on his behalf, appealed to the cocoa buying companies in the country to ensure that they pay their purchasing clerks well so they would not be tempted to embezzle funds meant for their operation.
He also urged the cocoa buying companies to do proper background checks on people they intend to recruit as staff so they do not employ criminals.