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A GLANCE AT THE FARMER FIELD SCHOOL: EMPOWERING COCOA FARMERS

Date: 16th November 2023

On Friday, September 15, 2023, a transformative incident occurred in the heart of the cocoa-rich Bekwai Cocoa District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. 

The Cocoa Farmers' Field School, conducted in Kokofu, exemplifies the importance of such initiatives to the cocoa farming community. This article explores the significance of farmer field schools, focusing on the one that took place in Kokofu, Bekwai Cocoa District, and casting light on the invaluable knowledge shared and its effect on local cocoa farming.

The primary focus of the Kokofu Cocoa Farmers' Field School was the successful implementation of the Productivity Enhanced Programme (PEP) initiatives of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

 This programme is intended to equip cocoa farmers in Ghana with the knowledge and instruments necessary to increase their crop yield and promote the sustainability of cocoa farming. At the heart of the Kokofu event was the in-depth investigation of the "4Ps": pruning, poultry manure application, pollination, and pod protection. 

These practices are crucial for ensuring healthier cocoa trees and increased production. The farmers had the opportunity to learn from experts about the complexities of each “P” and how they interrelate to produce a robust cocoa farming ecosystem that guarantees massive yields. 

The success of the Kokofu Farmer Field School was largely dependent on the knowledge of its instructors. Prince Kwadwo Amoako, the District Cocoa Officer at CHED, Bekwai District, and Oheneafewo Bonsu, the District Extension Coordinator, led the discussions. 

In addition, Community Extension Agents (CEAs) from Kokofu and Jacobu, namely Seth Aning-Sarfo and Maxwell Okpoti, contributed invaluable insight. Their collective knowledge and experience served as a guiding light for the cocoa farmers in attendance.

The practical component of the Kokofu Field School was one of its highlights. Cocoa farmers present had the opportunity to visit the property of Chief Farmer Ebenezer Adusei, where they observed the successful implementation of the “4Ps” firsthand. 

Observing the concepts in action left a lasting impression on the cocoa producers, reinforcing their applicability and efficacy. The field school's visit to a pollinated farm was an essential component. Here, cocoa farmers realised the significance of pollination in cocoa farming. They observed a direct correlation between proper pollination practices and enhanced cocoa pod formation, which ultimately led to increased yields.

The Kokofu Cocoa Farmers' Field School exemplifies the significant contribution farmer field schools make to the lives of cocoa farmers. As cocoa farming continues to evolve, initiatives such as these are essential for ensuring the prosperity of cocoa farmers and the longevity of this essential industry.

Prince Kwadwo Amoako
District Cocoa Officer
Bekwai, Ashanti Region 

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