Cocoa farmers urged to embrace new initiatives to improve farms

By
Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA
     

Manso-Nkaasu (Ash), Sept. 25, GNA – Mr Albert
Akomaning, the Ashanti Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension
Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, has urged cocoa farmers to embrace the Government’s
initiative to cut down all disease infected and aged cocoa trees on their
farms.

He said the only remedy to stop the continuous
spread of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot and Viral Disease (CSSVD) was to cut the
trees and replace them with improved varieties to help sustain cocoa production
and incomes of farmers.

Mr Akomaning, at a farmers’ forum at
Manso-Nkaasu in the Amansie West District, said farmers’ cooperation was
crucial to ensuring that the programme succeeded to protect their investments.

The forum was organised by CHED to provide a
platform for farmers in the area to discuss issues and challenges affecting
cocoa production.

It was also to create opportunity for the
farmers to interact with extension and technical officers to share ideas on new
techniques and agronomic practices to improve farm management to increase crop
yield and income of farmers.

Mr Akomaning said the initiative had begun in
two cocoa growing regions; the Western and Eastern cocoa regions and that it
would soon be introduced in all cocoa growing regions in the country.

He said COCOBOD would provide compensation,
free extension services, fertilizers, improved variety seedlings and other
inputs to farmers whose infected trees would be cut, to replant their farms.

Touching on the plantation of other economic
trees on their farms, Mr Akomaning said farmers who planted the economic trees
had the opportunity to register with the Forestry Commission for the ownership
of the trees.

He urged farmers to always buy their seedlings
and inputs from the COCOBOD and other approved dealers.

He appealed to them to adopt the on-going
artificial pollination system, which guaranteed increased crop yield per tree
to improve on their returns.

Dr Isaac Boakye Danquah, the Ashanti Regional
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of CHED, urged cocoa farmers to see their
farms as businesses and always seek technical advice from extension officers,
especially on pollination, pruning and spraying of the cocoa trees.

He also urged them to participate in the
farmers’ business training programme, which had been established by COCOBOD in
collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), to
enable them to manage their farms as business ventures to increase their yield
and enhance income.

Dr Danquah said the farmers must join farmer
groups and cooperatives to enable them to access financial support in their
farming activities.

GNA

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