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The Cocoa Health and Extension Division of Ghana Cocoa Board (CHED) has sensitized cocoa farmers in the Boinso District of the Western South region to adopt the various Productivity Enhancement Programmes introduced by the Board to help boost production levels in the region.
Speaking at a farmer rally in the District, the Regional Manager, Mr. Samuel Osei said pruning of overgrown cocoa trees, hand-pollination, applying fertilizers, weeding and disease control around the farm at the appropriate times within the crop year, help boost pod production per tree and should not be taken for granted.
Mr. Samuel Osei said quite a large sum of money is invested into cocoa production annually to ensure good returns for cocoa farmers in Ghana. He therefore urged farmers who have benefited from the subsidized fertilizer programme to pay for their supplies in time to ensure sustainability of the intervention.
While explaining the need for the farmers with diseased and over-aged farms to subscribe to the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, he disclosed that areas where farmers allowed for their farms to be rehabilitated by COCOBOD are now seeing great results while anticipating bumper harvests in the upcoming seasons.
At the same forum, Mr. Osei cautioned farmers against cutting down cocoa trees to plant rubber. He said the short-term gains could not exceed the numerous benefits that come with new initiatives introduced by government such as the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme (CFPS).
He used the platform to educate the farmers on the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme and the ongoing enrolment exercise. He said once enrolled, a farmer can contribute a minimum of 5% of the total beans sold at a point of sale of their cocoa. He added that government also adds its part of the contribution which is invested together with the farmer's contribution.
He gave assurance that the CFPS is governed by law and will continue to operate as long as the laws of Ghana exist.
The farmers expressed appreciation for such platforms to educate them about programmes and interventions by government, as well as the opportunity to make suggestions that influence policy to help boost the country’s cocoa sector.
They gave assurance of their readiness to comply with, and adopt the good agronomic practices recommended by COCOBOD to ensure Ghana maintains its position as the leading producer of premium cocoa in the world.
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