The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has raised concerns over the recent uncontrolled take-over of cocoa farms and farmlands by small-scale miners and warned that could affect the crop’s production levels.
Rev Emmanuel Ahia Klotey, Deputy Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), said the situation whereby chiefs, landowners and farmers keep releasing lands and cutting down farms to give way to gold mining could have serious consequences for the cocoa industry.
Efforts at attaining production targets would prove futile if this went unchecked, he added.
He was addressing the annual conference of the “Kookoo Pa Farmers Association” held in Nyinahin in the Atwima-Mponua District.
The event, held under the theme, ‘Increasing sustainable cocoa production in Ghana – the role of the youth’ was also used to pay a premium to farmers.
Rev Klotey underscored that the youth eager to go into cocoa growing must to be assisted to gain access to land to help not only to boost production but enable them to create wealth for themselves.
He made reference to the youth in cocoa production programme introduced by the Cocobod, and said the goal was to entice the young people into the crop’s cultivation to revamp the sector.
That, he indicated, was the way forward to maintain the country’s position as leader in quality cocoa production.
He reiteirated the determination of COCOBOD to create opportunities and provide incentives to farmers to increase yield and returns, citing free distribution of seedlings and inputs supply.
Stephen Yeboah, the District Chief Executive (DCE), praised cocoa farmers for their immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the nation.
He appealed to the youth in the area to take advantage of the interventions by COCOBOD to go into cocoa farming to transform their living conditions.
Vincent Frimpong Manu, Board Chairman of the Kookoo Pa Farmers Association, said it would continue to help and encourage farmers to adopt modern agronomic practices to raise production.
He counseled farmers to adhere strictly to the advice by extension officers.
Fred Amponsah, Executive Director of the Association, said all of its 7,260 members had passed the external audit process and therefore certified as quality cocoa beans producers.
The farmers received a premium payment of GHȼ10 on each bag of cocoa sold.