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Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has honoured fifteen visually impaired cocoa farmers for their outstanding contributions to the sustainability of the cocoa value chain, at the first ever awards programme instituted for the physically challenged in cocoa farming at a ceremony in Cape Coast.
Championed by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, the programme rewarded the farmers with cash prizes, farm inputs, protective clothing and assorted cocoa products.
The fifteen awardees, seven of whom are still in active farming, were drawn from the Western, Central and Bono Ahafo Cocoa regions and have farmed for between fifteen to sixty years.
The Executive Director of CHED, Rev. Edwin Afari said the awards were instituted with approval from the management of COCOBOD in recognition of the exceptional contribution of the physically challenged to Ghana’s cocoa sector.
He stressed that their achievements are worth celebrating and emulating and called on industry stakeholders to support their efforts.
“Management thought it necessary to shine a light on the significant contribution the physically challenged, specifically the visually impaired make to the country’s cocoa production at a special ceremony such as this. As we celebrate your efforts, it is hoped that it will encourage others, including our able-bodied youth to venture into cocoa farming”, he said.
Rev. Afari further encouraged the awardees to continue implementing good agronomic practices such as pruning and pollination. He urged them to make use of the expertise of the District Extension Coordinators who are available to assist farmers in all 70 cocoa districts nationwide.
The Central Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, Nana Kwasi Ofori thanked COCOBOD for recognizing the contribution of the physically challenged in Ghana’s cocoa production.
“This is quite encouraging to farmers, specifically physically challenged cocoa farmers because these farmers have shown resilience and dedication to cocoa farming and serve as role models for the youth to venture into farming”, he observed.
Nana Ofori called on the Management of COCOBOD and other stakeholders to continue to support physically challenged cocoa farmers, in order to reduce their dependency on others. He also called for the awards scheme to be included in the annual calendar of the cocoa sector.
He called on COCOBOD management and other industry stakeholders to continue supporting these farmers to reduce their dependency on others as these impaired farmers are vital in the sustainability of the cocoa value chain.
“This award scheme should not be a one-day affair but should be consistent on the calendar of events for the sector, as this would go a long way to empower families and our nation financially”, he said.
The awardees also expressed appreciation to COCOBOD for honouring their efforts.
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