Cocoa farmers acquire skills

Business News of Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Source: B&FT


About 100 cocoa farmers in the Asunafo North District of Brong Ahafo Region have benefitted from a one-day sensitisation workshop on approved fertilizers for cocoa as well as scientific methods of broadcasting them, aiming at improving the yield and quality of cocoa in Ghana.

The workshop “Healthier Cocoa Campaign” an initiative of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and Yara Ghana, producers of fertilizer, has been replicated in 16 cocoa-growing districts in Ghana.

The GH¢290,000 project started about three years back to trumpet the need for farmers to stick to ‘Asaase Wura’ and Nitrabor fertilizers — products of Yara Ghana, both approved by CRIG. This is to help impact positively on the quality and quantity of cocoa beans to the admiration of the international market.

Mr. Henry Otoo-Mensah, Retail Sales Manager of Yara Ghana, advised cocoa farmers to be mindful of any decision they take with regard to application of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals as well as adhering to unproved farming practices, saying “any wrong decision by a farmer today has the tendency to affect cocoa production in Ghana”.

“There are fertilizers for cocoa, time of application and the quantitative requirements; and therefore it is prudent for farmers to adapt and stick to approved farming mechanisms to enrich their cocoa,” he said.

For his part, a Research Scientist at CRIG, Dr. Alfred Arthur, noted that over-application of fertilizer and the use of unproved agro-chemicals is inimical to the country’s economic growth, adding that such practices could endanger the quality and standard of our cocoa which is the leading foreign exchange earner of Ghana, thereby making it susceptible to rejection on the international market as happened in 2004 with Japan.

“We must refrain from awful practices so as not to trample the “Premium High Quality’ of our cocoa, which is the most sought-after commodity on the international cocoa market, to help generate more foreign exchange for development and fortify it as the country’s economic lifeblood,” he stated.

Mr. Mohammed Kwaku Doku, the Municipal Chief Executive of Asunafo North District, urged farmers not to hesitate to invest in their cocoa farms like their any other business entity.

He said farmers should not rely solely on Government subsidise inputs, but must inculcate the habit of pumping money into inputs-buying and other farming components to supplement the quota from Government.