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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Training for Cocoa Extension Officers Starts

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A vigorous training has commenced for cocoa extension officers who would help the country to increase its cocoa production in the short term.

The training started with 100 cocoa extension officers on Monday at Bunso in the Eastern region, with each officer expected to take charge of 10 communities in the country.

The initiative, which is a public-private partnership, is sponsored by Cadbury Ghana with support from its partners, Care International and World Vision.

Each cocoa extension officer would be expected to train cocoa farmers on the right application of chemicals and best practices in cocoa farming.

They would support the writing of a modified community action plans that would enable rural dwellers to identify and meet their needs.

The country has targeted one million tonnes of cocoa production within the next three years.

Presently, the country produces 700,000 tonnes of cocoa annually.

Most cocoa farmers produce a maximum of 400 kilogrammes per hectare, but the introduction of this programme would trigger an increase in production of 2000 kilogrammes per hectare.

The Managing Director of Cadbury Ghana, James Boateng, who spoke at the training programme, said the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership would fund 17 Extension officers in 100 communities where the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is active.

“The ambition of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is to create thriving rural communities. The extension officers would deliver the much needed support to cocoa farmers,” he noted.

The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, which was established in 2008, has committed 45 million Euros to cocoa farming in Ghana, India, South- East Asia and the Caribbean with the objective of supporting sustainable cocoa communities to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their families.

According to Cadbury, a community-centered governance structure has been set up in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the government of Ghana, local trade union experts and their partners as well some Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Speaking at the meeting, Anna Swaithes, the Head of Management at the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, London, indicated that the recruited extension officers would work closely with the communities and partners such as CARE, VSO and the World Vision to help find ways of improving cocoa production.

“The extension services to farmers such as training would improve access to fertilizers and seedlings to help cocoa growing communities,” she added.

By Charles Nixon Yeboah

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