cocoa farmers have been commended for their contribution towards the sustenance of the Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC) over the years, which had culminated in its listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange more than 10 years ago.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the PBC, Mr Robert Kofi Ampomah, who made the commendation, however, urged them to continue to keep faith with the company while it also instituted incentive packages for them to increase their cocoa yields and improve their welfare.
Mr Ampomah was speaking at a farmers’ durbar at Goaso, the capital of the Asunafo North Municipality, to mark the 10th anniversary of the listing of PBC on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
The event was held on the theme: “Maintaining the leadership of Produce Buying Company Limited in the cocoa and shea nut business.”
The occasion was also used to honour nine workers at the regional office, 36 marketing clerks at the district level and 12 best district farmers who were presented with spraying machines and certificates.
Prominent among the awardees at the regional level was Mr Franklin Kamkam, who was adjudged the best accounting officer.
Mr Ampomah said the company had made strides since its listing on the stock exchange and expressed the hope of increasing its profitability on the stock market in the coming years, to the benefit of its shareholders who comprise Ghanaian farmers and workers.
He said the company had outlined a number of measures to be adopted for the next three years to maintain its leadership role in the cocoa and shea nut business.
Mr Ampomah said notable among the measures was the increase in cocoa purchases from the current 38 per cent to 43 per cent of the total market, construction of 69 sheds and depots and renovation of 63 out of the existing storage facilities. It had also ensured the prompt, efficient and cost-effective evacuation and handing over of cocoa purchased to promote good seed fund recycling rate.
He said the PBC would continue to deepen its social responsibility through the provision of electricity, potable water and other development projects to improve the living standards of the people, as well as provision of inputs like fertilisers, spraying machines and insecticides/pesticides to farmers to improve on cocoa production.
The Deputy Regional Chief Farmer, Nana Osei-Adusa, urged the management of the PBC to brief farmers who were shareholders on the company’s performance on the stock exchange as well as the payment of dividends.
He also called for an intensive education campaign to erase the erroneous impression by farmers that the price of cocoa was higher in La Cote d’ Ivoire than in Ghana, which was a contributory factor to smuggling.
The Regional Manager of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Division of the COCOBOD, Mr Enoch Y.T. Donkor, implored cocoa farmers to co-operate with officials of the division, who inspect cocoa farms and educate them on their maintenance.
The Asunafo North Municipal Quality Control Officer of the Quality Control Company Limited, Mr Bernard Adotey Brown, also urged the farmers to follow the right procedures for drying cocoa beans.
That, he said, would enable the country to maintain its status as one of the leading producers of quality cocoa beans in the world.
The Asunafo North Municipal Co-ordinating Director, Mr John Kofi Adomako, urged the PBC to pay bonuses promptly to farmers and ensure that children of cocoa farmers were the recipients of COCOBOD scholarships.
The Omanhene of Goaso Traditional Area, Nana Kwasi Bosompra I, who chaired the function, commended cocoa farmers for their contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country.
He, however, enjoined the PBC to institute an incentive scheme for its purchasing clerks to discourage them from exploiting farmers through the manipulation of their weighing scales.