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The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo has embarked on a three-day field inspection and farmer-engagement tour of some cocoa communities in two of the crop-producing regions.
During the tour, he will inspect several farms to familiarise himself with the progress of the mass pruning exercise, which usually starts in the first quarter of each year since it was introduced.
Pruning along with hand pollination are the two early interventions introduced by the current management of COCOBOD as the pivotal interventions for the achievement of an ambitious one million metric tons of cocoa production.
The COCOBOD boss and his entourage of some Directors and Managers of the cocoa authority are scheduled to make their stops in nine districts in the Central and Eastern Regions, where he will also engage with the executives of farmer cooperatives on the challenges they face on their farms and in their communities.
Some of the farms he will visit are in Agona Nyakrom, Breman Asikuma, Assin Fosu and Koforidua. Others are in Nkawkaw, Osino, Tafo, Koforidua, Suhum, Oda, Asamankese.
Through the work of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), COCOBOD has been intensifying its sensitisation of farmers on the benefits of pruning. It has also been expanding year-on-year, the number of farms and the number of hectors covered under the Mass Pruning exercise.
Pruning is carried out ahead of the flowering period of the cocoa tree. It is, essentially, the cutting of excess twigs and branches from the trees. Dead and diseased branches are also cut away during pruning.
The result is always a significant increase in the flowers the trees grow; which can then be pollinated to increase yield without increasing the farm size. Pruning is hence touted as the first major farm exercise on the path to a bumper harvest and its consequent increase in farmer income.
With the introduction of the motorised dual-purpose pruners and slashers, which has made the pruning process far more efficient than before, this year’s Mass Pruning is projected to be the grandest and most impactful yet.
Accompanying Hon. Boahen Aidoo on the working tour are some senior management members of COCOBOD, including Mr. Ray Ankrah, the Deputy Chief Executive of Finance and Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, the Deputy Chief Executive of Agronomy & Quality Control.
Also taking part in the tour are Dr. Emmanuel Nii Tackie-Otoo, the Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED); Dr. I.Y. Opoku, the Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, and Rev. Emmanuel Ahia-Clottey the Executive Director of the Seed Production Division.
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