Mr Ebenezer Agyin, Ashanti Regional Manager, Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the COCOBOD, has urged cocoa farmers to take pruning of their farms seriously to help maximise crop yield and increase beans production on their farms.
According to the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the COCOBOD, pruning is an effective farm hygiene exercise, which prevents diseases and pests and can reduce crop losses to about 40 percent.
Mr Ebenezer Agyin noted that Ghana’s cocoa production rate which shot up to 1,000,000 metric tonnes in 2021, was a result of an effective pruning exercise carried out by the COCOBOD across the country.
Mr Ebenezer Agyin made the call when addressing the Susu Biribi Women in Cocoa Association at Kwamang in the Afigya Kwabre North District in the Ashanti Region. He disclosed that the COCOBOD is poised to assist farmers with the requisite technical expertise to increase crop yields in the 2023 season.
The COCOBOD, according to Mr. Agyin, is supporting farmers with fuels to operate the motorized sprayers to enhance effective spraying exercises against insects and other cocoa diseases.
On-farm rehabilitation exercise under the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease, Mr. Agyin said the COCOBOD would engage affected farmers directly instead of relying on the rehabilitation assistants. He explained that absenteeism on the part of some of the rehabilitation assistants leaves most of the farms to remain in bushes.
“It is, therefore, imperative that COCOBOD engaged the farmers directly, entrust all farm maintenance activities and channel payments due them for the exercise.”Mr Ebenezer Agyin
Mr Agyin and a team of CHED officers went to the community to present quantities of chocolate products to the farmers as part of activities to climax the National Chocolate week celebrations in Ghana.
The products were made available by the World Cocoa Foundation, an international membership organization that promotes sustainability in the cocoa sector, and the COCOBOD.
Regional Coordinator for Gender Praises Women
Madam Christiana Amponsah, Ashanti Regional Coordinator for Gender, CHED, on her part, praised women in the cocoa growing regions, saying, “Women play a major role in cocoa production and that is why the COCOBOD saw the need to honour such women on the occasion of the National Chocolate Week”.
Ashanti Regional Coordinator for Gender, CHED, noted that about 30 per cent of cocoa produced in the country was from women. However, she said despite this enormous contribution of women in cocoa production, their efforts are often not recognized.
Madam Amponsah indicated that it is important to carry women along the cocoa value chain to ensure a sustainable increase in production.
Madam Mary Blankson, Financial Secretary to the Susu Biribi Women in Cocoa Association, commended the COCOBOD for presenting the products to the Association. She called on the government to continually support farmers with farming incentives to boost production.