The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in charge of Operations at Ghana Cocoa Board(COCOBOD), Dr Emmanuel Opoku has reminded cocoa farmers to appreciate the Akufo-Addo -led administration for the special interventions in the cocoa sector.
He said cocoa farming Enhancement Programmes such as mass spraying, mass pruning, rehabilitation of Cocoa farms, pollination, supply of free cocoa seedlings, free motorised slashers, free chemicals and fertilizers and the formation of Cooperatives, has given the cocoa sector a major boost in the last three years.
The Government has also increased the producer price of the commodity making cocoa farming a lucrative business and more attractive thereby improving the livelihoods of Cocoa farmers in the country.
Dr Opku was speaking at the launch of the Daboase District Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union at Daboase in the Wassa-East District of the Western-South Cocoa Region.
The event which was on the theme “Good Farming Practices Bring Maximum Benefits”, was graced by officials from COCOBOD led by the Western South Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED),Mr Samuel Asare Ankamah, the Executive Director at the CHED, COCOBOD(Accra),Dr.Emmanuel Nii Tackie-Otoo and the Daboase District Chief Cocoa farmer, Nana Boye Sekan.
Dr Opoku said as part of the enhancement programme, government had sourced funds to fight the swollen shoot disease by cutting down affected trees for replanting with GHc1, 000 compensation package per hectare to farmers.
He said some farmers who went through the enhancement programme were harvesting between 150 and 200 pods on one tree with the highest being 1,926 pods on one cocoa tree.
Dr.Opoku advised farmers to stop applying toxic chemicals on their farms and use the approved ones from COCOBOD and government had rolled out a programme to procure a database for cocoa farmers and provide them with the Cocoa Akuafo Card to streamline operations in the sector.
The Akuafo card, Dr.Opoku explained, would ensure that financial transactions to farmers would be done on the card to avoid attacks on farmers by armed robbers after sales.
Another human-centered policy is the Cocoa Akuafo Pension scheme designed to cater for farmers in their old age, where a farmer could access loans after three years of contribution.
Dr Opoku appealed to the farmers to retain Nana Akufo-Addo in power and vote for the NPP Parliamentary Candidate, Mr.Wilson Arthur for them to make cocoa farmers better off.
The District Chief Executive,Mr.Wilson Arthur said the Assembly had brought a host of Innovations in the Agricultural sector since 2017 with attractive prizes in the form of three tricycles given to the best three farmers on Farmers’ Day celebration.
He reminded the people of Wassa-East to use his track record as DCE for four years, which witnessed an unprecedented development to vote for him as the MP to do more to advance their cause.
The District Chief Cocoa Farmer, Nana Boye Sekan reminded cocoa farmers in the District to join cooperatives to be able to access farming inputs from government and said the cooperative and marketing union started with 25 societies in 2018, but now boasted of 136 societies with more than 5,000 cocoa farmers.
Some farmers received free farming inputs from COCOBOD as prizes for their zeal and hard work.