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I Cant Buy Chocolate'   
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Wilfred Nkum
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A 54-year-old cocoa farmer in the West Akyem District of the Eastern region has complained bitterly about the exorbitant prices of finished cocoa products.

I have a cocoa farm but I am not able to buy cocoa products because they are too expensive, said Wilfred Nkum. Mr. Nkum, who has been cultivating cocoa for the past 15 years at Asamakese in the West Akyem District on a five-acre land, said he and other cocoa farmers do not have direct access to cocoa products.

He mentioned that cocoa farmers play a very important role in the cocoa supply chain and the production of chocolate.

The farmer, in an interview after participating in a seminar for cocoa farmers and journalists in Accra said, We are the first to start the journey of the cocoa product, we nurse the seeds and then replant and we grow and bear fruits we harvest, dry them and them sell the cocoa beans. It is our cocoa beans which are transformed to bars of chocolate but we can not afford them.

Though Mr. Nkums children asked him to buy some chocolate bars and other cocoa products for beverage, he said, I can not buy it. Personally I do not like chocolate but sometimes I am forced to buy it for them because you know children are so demanding and they do not understand when you tell them you can not buy something.

He suggested that special concession be made for farmers to enable them have easy access to the end products.

Through interventions by other private entities and government, he said the lives of cocoa farmers have been improved, adding though more can be done.

Farmers, through such initiatives, are benefiting from training and other forms of technology to help them increase their yield and improve the quality of the crop as well.

The farmer, who belongs to a farmer-based organization in his community said, We are targeting a 30 per cent increment in cocoa production by the end of 2015. We have cultivated 40 seedlings, which have been distributed to members in our association and we expect 300 tonnes of cocoa by end of the next cocoa season.
Source: Emelia Ennin Abbey / D-Guide

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