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The Brong Ahafo Women Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Central Union (BAWCOF) Limited has held its end-of-year festival with a call on members to rededicate themselves to best farming practices that increase yields without compromising the future use of the environment.
The celebration was under the theme ’’Empowering women in SDGs, nurturing women, nurturing cocoa, promoting sustainability together”.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo commended members of the union for their tremendous contribution towards the growth of the cocoa sector, adding that their unity supports the Board’s policy of mainstreaming farmer cooperatives in the implementation of its numerous programmes.
“I am impressed to see strong and beautiful women lightening up the cocoa sector and contributing significantly to the betterment of their livelihoods”, he said.
According to him, the level of enthusiasm he had witnessed in members of the association has rendered void, the negative comments from a section of the public alleging the industry’s inability to better the lives of our cherished cocoa farmers in the country.
Hon. Boahen Aidoo charged members to adhere to the good agronomic practices the COCOBOD has implemented over the past years to ensure that their livelihoods as women in the cocoa farming business are improved. He added that adhering to good agronomic practices will boost their yields and translate to improved productivity.
“Never abandon the 4Ps, which are Pruning, Pollination, Poultry droppings and Pest management to significantly improve yield per acre. When you prune your farm there will be proper flowering and aeration which will enable you to have a bumper harvest”, he advised.
Hon. Aidoo further entreated the farmers to work closely with the Community Extension Officers (CEAs) in their various communities for proper education and direction on how to maintain their farms as well as other decisions regarding their farming activities.
He further indicated that the introduction of the Cocoa Management System (CMS) has helped management to have a complete database on cocoa farmers across the country which will help to effectively implement programmes such as inputs and fertilizers distribution, prompt payment after the sale of cocoa beans to LBCs, payment of pension benefits and tracing of cocoa sold on the international market, among others.
“It is very important to note that, we are exempted from EU’s regulation on traceable cocoa, the CMS has given us an upper hand to be able to track the cocoa we sell to our customers outside the shores of Ghana”, he added.
“The Cocoa Management System is not political machinery, so those who have not registered due to their political inclinations should endeavour to register for COCOBOD to buy their cocoa coming season”, he entreated.
In a brief remark, Nana Akwasi Bosompra I, the Paramount Chief of Goaso Traditional Area, underlined the significance of women engaged in cocoa farming. He stated that the cocoa farming occupation is time-demanding and therefore requires constant attention and effort to ensure a bountiful harvest, hence the role of women.
Ms. Martha Addai, the President of BAWCOF, reiterated the cooperative’ staunch commitment to its members' financial well-being and emphasized that achieving that goal requires the establishment of a credit union to mobilize sufficient savings to support the association’s projects and programmes. Ms. Addai appealed to the management of COCOBOD to continue to support the union in other ventures such as soap making, bead making, and handmade chocolate among others which will serve as alternate sources of income for members and by extension, the association.
The festival brought together about 7000 members drawn from 96 societies in the nine cocoa districts in the Brong-Ahafo Cocoa Region.
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