President John Atta Mills has directed the Ghana Cocoa Board to process the arrears of the 2009/2010 bonuses of cocoa farmers for the Ministry of Finance to pay in two installments before December.

“The government is poised to pay relevant economic rates to cocoa farmers as incentive to bolster the industry,” he stressed.

President Mills gave the directive in an address, delivered on his behalf, by Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, at the Cocoa Producers’ Alliance (COPAL) “Cocoa Day” celebrations in Hohoe.

The Cocoa Day, organised by COCOBOD, is aimed at popularising the produce and creating public awareness for its consumption in the 10 COPAL member countries, including Gabon, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Brazil and Malaysia.

He said that the 2010/2011 cocoa purchasing season had commenced, indicating that it would attract the new price of GHc 3,200 per tonne from the GHc 2,400, representing a 33.33 percent increase.

President Mills expressed optimism that the percentage hikes in the producer price of cocoa would be an added motivation for farmers in improving their standard of living.

He said the cost of a bundle of roofing sheets, which was bought between GHc 18 and GHc 20 was the price of cocoa in 2001, indicating that increases between 2001 and 2008 were rather insignificant and marginal in relation to the current hikes.

President Mills reaffirmed that cocoa was the lifeline of the economy and the government was committed to revamping the sector to remain attractive to the industry players for optimum results.

He said government would continue to rejuvenate the sector by rolling out innovative strategies and policies and appealed to cocoa farmers to reciprocate this gesture by redoubling efforts to increase yields and shun smuggling of the produce across the country’s frontiers.

President Mills encouraged Ghanaians to “Eat what we grow and grow what we eat,” and appealed to event organizers to make conscious efforts to substitute tea breaks with cocoa drinks.

Mr Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, praised the government for the enormous support to the cocoa industry, aimed at revamping production and enhancing the welfare of cocoa farmers.

He re-assured that COCOBOD’s commitment to achieving the one million tonnes production target was on course.

Source: GNA

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