Prez Mahama Marks Two Years In Office

President John Dramani Mahama marked two years of his Presidency yesterday by joining a young cocoa farmer at Assin Sienchem in the Central Region to work on his farm. For about an hour, the President, supported by the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Fiifi Kwetey, helped to break fresh cocoa pods on Mr Samuel Torbiļæ½s farm. Mr Torbi, 35, who is currently the Assin North Municipal best cocoa farmer, owns a 13-acre cocoa farm. He began his agricultural business with a small-scale vegetable farm before went into cocoa farming. Significantly, Mr Torbi, who comes from a family of cocoa farmers, started the farm at 21, just after completing senior high school. He is a member of the Assin Young Farmers Association, a group with a current membership of about 4,000. Its objective is to encourage young people to take to farming as a business. On arrival at Assin Sienchem from Accra, President Mahama walked about two kilometres to the cocoa farm where he helped to break the cocoa pods. President delighted Speaking to the media later, the President said he was delighted to observe the second anniversary of his inauguration on a farm owned by a young person. About two months ago, Mr Torbi was among a group of cocoa farmers who called on the President at the Flagstaff House to thank him for the increase in the producer price of cocoa. During the courtesy call, the President promised to visit Mr Torbi on his farm. The President said there was no better day to fulfil that promise than the day he was marking the second anniversary of his Presidency. He expressed happiness at the fact that many young educated people were now investing in agriculture as a business. He said the government had put in place a number of measures to support farmers to increase production. He indicated that one of them was a programme which had been instituted by COCOBOD to entice young people into cocoa farming as an example of the government's commitment to encourage more youth to take to farming. Under the programme, which starts this year, interested young people will be supplied with inputs and other support services to start and nurture their farms. Earlier, President Mahama had addressed a durbar of the chiefs and people organised in his honour at Assin Sienchem. He asked the people to continue to have faith in the government because it would always work in their interest. Dr Opuni The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Opuni, warned purchasing clerks against adjusting weighing scales to cheat cocoa farmers. He announced that a task force comprising officials of COCOBOD and National Security officers had been set up to bring perpetrators to book. He said the free fertiliser regime and the mass cocoa spraying exercise would be vigorously pursued this year. The Chief of the village, Nana Fosu Ababio II, thanked the President for his exceptional commitment to the development of the cocoa industry.