Mr Charles Amenyaglo, the Director of Special Services at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has cautioned cocoa farmers to desist from smuggling and selling of subsidised cocoa fertilizers. He said any farmer or buyer of such subsidised cocoa fertilizers would be arrested and prosecuted.
Mr Amenyagio, who gave the waming in an interview with the media in Takoradi after four suspected cocoa fertilizer smugglers, were put before the Takoradi Port circuit court B, for allegedly smuggling 328 bags of subsidised cocoa fertilizers.
He said Cocoa fertilizer smuggling was becoming a torn in the flesh of COCOBOD, stressing that more than 2,000 bags of cocoa fertilizers were retrieved from smugglers across the country last year alone.
Mr Amenyaglo pointed out that if the practice was not nipped in the bud COCOBOD would not be able to achieve its aim of increased cocoa yield since nutrients on many cocoa farms were depleted.
He said it was an offence punishable by law to be engaged in such a practice, noting that the fertilizers were highly subsidised.
He said they procured the fertilizers at 560 cedis a bag and sold to the farmers at 80 cedis a bag, which they transport to the farming communities and hand over to the farmer cooperatives for distribution to their members.
Mr Amenyaglo expressed worry that some unscrupulous people had been unlawfully purchasing cocoa fertilizers delivered to cocoa farmers at a highly subsidised rates, adding "some of them have made it their business to be going around buying cocoa fertilizers, which have been delivered to the farmers at their doorsteps.
The four suspects, Amadu Combat 55, Kingsley Baah Wiredu, 32 driver, Issaka Mbawuni, 38 and Dawuda Yakubu 44 were arrested at Samenaboi in the Western Region around 0200hours on Sunday September 11, with trucks load of COCOBOD subsidised fertilizers.
The court presided over by Her Honour, Mrs Abigail K. Asare, did not take their plea and discharged the suspects with the explanation that the charge of causing financial loss to the State leveled against the four did not tally with the facts.
She, therefore, asked the prosecution to collaborate with COCOBOD officials to conduct thorough investigations into the case and come up with the appropriate charges against the four suspects.