About 560 cocoa farmers from 10 communities in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region, have attended a rally on a ?Model Farm? to help prepare them for the 2014/15 cocoa season which opens in October.
As part of efforts to arrest the decline in cocoa production in the country, Ghana Cocoa Board initiated a National Cocoa Disease and Pest Control (CODAPEC) programme, popularly called ?Mass Spraying? to assist farmers to combat the Capsid / Mirid and the Black Pod diseases.
The programme aimed at training farmers on the cultural and chemical methods of pests and diseases control.
It also educates and trains local sprayers on safe pesticides usage.
Mr Michael Gyasi, Suhum Municipal Officer in-charge of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division, who spoke on the Model Farm, said registered farms are entitled to free fertilizers.
He asked the farmers to cut down all diseased cocoa trees for replanting and rehabilitate farms are more than 30 years.
He said free ammonia, seedlings, shade trees and plantain suckers would be supplied to farmers with farm holdings of 0.50 hectares (1.25 acres and above).
Mr Bobby Homawoo, Extension Coordinator, said spraying of cocoa farms is free and warned sprayers who collect money from farmers for the exercise to desist from the act.
Nene Asare, Chief Farmer for Anum Apapam, told Ghana News Agency said the CODAPEC programme is engrossed in problems.
He said inadequate spraying gangs is a major problem.