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COCOBOD closes down Agro Company over smuggling

The COCOBOD, in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the security agencies, has closed down a warehouse belonging to BH Fert Agro Company where fertiliser smuggling activities take place at Amanfrom Tipper Junction on the Adenta-Dodowa road.

Activities at the warehouse came to light following intelligence COCOBOD picked up about operations there last Saturday, a statement from COCOBOD indicated.

Officials of COCOBOD and the GRA and security men discovered various types of fertiliser, including Cocoa Aduane, Sidalco Cocoa So Dosoo, Asaasewura, Cocoa Ahooden, PFJ Fertiliser, as well as farm inputs belonging to COCOBOD, being mixed and re-bagged for export to Burkina Faso.

Also packed outside the warehouse was a pile of Cocoa Aduane fertiliser covered with tarpaulin.

Again, 15 articulated trucks, each loaded with a minimum of 1,000 bags of the rebranded fertiliser, were waiting to move to Burkina Faso.

The Production Manager of BH Fert Agro Company, Redeemer Ayitey, was subsequently arrested by the Accra Regional Police and is currently assisting with investigations.

“The warehouse has been locked up and a police patrol vehicle with men is guarding the facility while investigations continue,” the statement indicated.

The COCOBOD noted that in spite of the numerous warnings and punitive measures meted out to people involved in stealing, diversion and smuggling of subsidised fertiliser and other farm inputs meant for only Ghanaian cocoa farmers across the country, the act of smuggling still persisted.

Similar incidents recently reported in other parts of the country are at various stages of prosecution.

“We wish to reiterate our earlier caution to the public that cocoa fertiliser has been heavily subsidised by the government to ensure accessibility and affordability to all farmers to increase farm yields, and any attempt to steal, divert, resell or smuggle any product is a serious offence with grave consequences,” it said.

It warned all persons, groups and organisations involved in such acts to desist from them or continue to face the consequences of their actions.

It urged all security agencies to be vigilant and intercept cocoa fertiliser, chemicals and other inputs in the possession of persons without the required documentation covering the movement of such items for further investigations.

It called on the public to report all suspected cases to the Ghana Police Service for the necessary action.

The COCOBOD assured stakeholders of its commitment to ensuring that the smuggling menace was curtailed to give all well-meaning farmers access to fertiliser and other farm inputs.

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