The Managing Director of Akuafo Adamfo Purchasing Company, Mr Antoine Bou-Dip, has appealed to the government to stop the destruction of cocoa farms through illegal mining in cocoa-growing areas across the country.
According to Mr Bou-Dip, in the last couple of years the cocoa industry has experienced some difficulty which has adversely affected the price of the commodity on the international market.
He said “to add to our problems, the local scene was affected heavily by numerous problems and setbacks, one of which is illegal mining that had led to the destruction of a greater portion of lands meant for cocoa cultivation.”
Mr Bou-Dip made the appeal during the opening of a GH˘4 million office building for the company in Kumasi.
Expressing concern about the increasing dissipation of cocoa farms through illegal mining, Mr Bou-Dip said “the licensed buying companies offer jobs for 100s of farmers, agents and staff and our contribution to the national economy is vital.”
According to the managing director, the companies also add value to the economy without destroying the environment and, therefore, appealed for government’s intervention to save cocoa farms from further destruction.
The Akuafo Adamfo Purchasing Company a subsidiary of the Finatrade Group established in 2001, purchased 7,367 metric tonnes of cocoa in its first year of operation in Ghana.
The company, which currently operates in 10 districts, is the second best company, purchasing over 138,000 metric tonnes of cocoa and commands about 15 per cent of the market share.
While pleading with the government and stakeholders of the industry to appreciate its role in supporting accelerated growth of the national economy, he said it was also important for the government to protect its operations to make it more sustainable.
Mr Bou-Dip intimated “We are the only licensed cocoa-buying company in Kumasi and while everybody has moved to Accra, we have decided to stay closer to our beloved farmers. This is because we intend to stay in touch with our hardworking staff in the cocoa-growing areas”.
He said doing business in Ghana was becoming more difficult; a situation which compels some entrepreneurs to reinvest their profits abroad.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who inaugurated the three-storey building which serves as the headquarters of the company, urged the government to offer a special tax rebate to entrepreneurs investing in the agricultural industry.
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