By: Michael Kofi Kenetey
A cocoa farmers and buyers organization, Cocoa Abrabopa Association, CAA, has held their 12th Annual General Meeting, AGM at Danyame in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital with a call on government and traditional authorities to put a more concerted effort to combat galamsey.
Cocoa farmers of the Association also appealed to government to make cocoa farming attractive for the youth to engage in it.
The Cocoa Abrabopa Association 12th Annual General Meeting in Kumasi brought together over five hundred cocoa farmers from their various regional branches in the Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Western South and Central Regions.
This was their first Annual General Meeting since 2019 after COVID-19 strikes.
Speaking at the AGM, the Council Chairman of the Association, Ismail Pomasi made a passionate appeal to the Cocoa Board, COCOBOB and the government to help release the seed funds early to enable cocoa buyers pay the farmers early when the cocoa season opens.
He noted as at the moment that the cocoa season for this year has opened over a month now, the association has not yet receive any pesewa from the COCOBOD to enable them pay the farmers which worrying to them as an association and the farmers.
Mr. Pomasi hinted that cocoa smuggling in the country is another challenge confronting them as an Association and the cocoa industry, and the government must make a concerted effort to address it.
He added that as a result of cocoa smuggling the association decided to close down their branches in Oti and Volta regions because the smuggling rate in those regions were high.
Mr. Pomasi explained the devastating threat galamsey is posing to the cocoa industry.
Some of farmers the Eastern Regional branch of Cocoa Abrabopa Association speaking to GBC Sunrise FM appealed to government to make cocoa farming attractive to youth through the provision of the necessary resources to motivate the youth engage in it.
They also appealed to the government to subsidize the fertilizers and other agrochemicals for farmers and also help address the issue of galamsey as most landowners prefer to give their lands to galamsey operators rather than using it for cocoa farming.
They also appealed to traditional authorities to support the fight against galamsey as some chiefs are also part of the galamsey activities.