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BEST COCOA FARMERS, COCOBOD MEET TO SHARE IDEAS TO IMPROVE COCOA SECTOR

Date: 10th May 2022

The management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has met with the national executives of the Best Cocoa Farmers Association to deliberate on several matters within the cocoa industry.

The issues ranged from the supply of artificial fertilizers and other agrochemicals, and the progress of the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.

Also discussed was access to farming implements, farm mechanisation, irrigation, and the construction of cocoa roads, among others.

Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mr Charles Gyamfi, the 2018 National Best Cocoa Farmer said the supply of fertilizers and agrochemicals should be taken away from private companies and made available at the district offices of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) which are more accessible to the farmers.

He added that, in view of the forecasted global interruption to the supply of artificial fertilizers, COCOBOD should propose to the government, on behalf of cocoa farmers, a ban on the export of poultry manure from Ghana.

COCOBOD, he continued, should also begin to facilitate the supply of poultry manure to cocoa-growing communities to meet the rising demand by cocoa farmers and ease the expected negative impact of the global fertiliser crisis.

On the rehabilitation of cocoa farms, Mr Gyamfi said the farmers’ association had embarked on an inspection tour of rehabilitated cocoa farms and were most impressed, however, they also found that a few places needed some special attention.

He asked the Chief Executive and management of COCOBOD to make sure that the success story of the cocoa rehabilitation programme is expanded nationwide.

The 2018 National Best Cocoa Farmer, said many of his fellow farmers are eagerly awaiting the installation of irrigation facilities on their farms, so they can increase their production. He asked that COCOBOD should work with farmers who are ready to honour the financial obligations which come with the irrigation project, so that, they can speedily acquire and have them installed on their farms.

In his response, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said frequent engagements with farmers, who are the most important stakeholders, are crucial for the development of the industry.

 He commended the farmers for their visit and ideas to improve the cocoa sector. He urged the leadership of the association to engage with the rank and file of its members and bring their thoughts and concerns to the attention of COCOBOD, so they can inform decisions and interventions by management.

He, however, bemoaned the situation where some farmers retrieve the cut-down cocoa trees on rehabilitated farms to sell as firewood while others continue to apply weedicides on their cocoa farms despite efforts to stop the practice.

He appealed for assistance from the association to further sensitise farmers on the dangers of such practices.

He added that COCOBOD is open to further periodic dialogue as it will inure to the benefit of the farmers and the industry as a whole.

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