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The President of the National Best Cocoa Farmers Association, Nana Charles Gyamfi has urged the Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to consider expanding the existing Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEPs) to achieve the production target set for the 2022/23 crop year.
Describing the advice as ‘the surest way amidst unpredictable weather condition and other uncontrollable factors’, Nana Gyamfi, and some leading members of the association, made the call during a courtesy call on management of COCOBOD at Cocoa House, Accra.
Nana Gyamfi applauded management for introducing the cocoa rehabilitation project under the PEPs and said, ‘the initiative has the potential of increasing production to over one million metric tonnes of cocoa in the near future’. He further observed that the exercise has recorded significant feats since its rollout in the Western North Region 5 years ago.
‘Farmers are happy at the success of the rehabilitation exercise, they resisted at the beginning but now, they are ready and willing to give out their diseased and unproductive farms to be cut down and replanted… there is abundance of food because the extension officers gave out free plantain suckers to serve as additional source of income for us,’ he said
Nana Gyamfi however bemoaned the slow pace of the exercise in the Brong Ahafo Region, mentioning specifically Sankore District and urged management to put measures in place to accelerate progress of the project in that district for maximum results.
‘The Sankore District has, over the past decade, produced several National Best Cocoa Farmers. It will be a great honour in recognition of their efforts when we inject impetus into the rehabilitation exercise in the district for the benefits of all farmers’, he disclosed.
Touching on other aspects of the PEPs, Nana Gyamfi encouraged management to fully roll out the irrigation project to enable a substantial number of farmers to enjoy the benefits that come with this novel intervention in the cocoa sector.
‘Cocoa Farmers have accepted the irrigation project and want it on their farms because during the dry season, it is very difficult to irrigate farms that are producing. However, we know and understand the cost involved but if COCOBOD can put in place measures that will be economically friendly for farmers to afford’, he added
Nana Gyamfi further urged management to institute a call centre that will serve as a medium through which farmers can relay their concerns to guide them in carrying out their daily farming activities to increase production.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo acknowledged the concerns raised during interactions, and assured that COCOBOD would worked closely with the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) to resolve the issues and challenges under the PEPs not only in the Brong Ahafo region but across the cocoa regions.
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