Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has announced that the government will distribute motorised slashers to aid cocoa farmers in weeding and pruning of their farms.
The distribution would be done through farmer cooperatives to the farmers as part of efforts to abolish the rampant use of harmful chemicals to control weeds on cocoa farms and also to improve on the eco-system while preserving the environment, he said.
Mr. Aidoo announced this when he addressed a durbar to mark the National Cocoa Day (NCD) celebration which was on the theme “Sustainable Cocoa Production for Wealth and Health”.
The programme, instituted in 2005 by the government of former President John Agyekum Kufuor to create awareness of numerous health benefits of cocoa consumption and to usher in a new cocoa season was attended by people from all walks of life, particularly cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa fraternity.
He said the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) would not make the necessary impact in the lives of cocoa farmers if purchasing clerks continued to manipulate their weighing scales.
Mr Aidoo added, though regular checks of scales were under the control of the Ghana Standards Authority, with continued agitation from farmers about the extent of that bad practice by PCs, COCOBOD was considering an arrangement with Licensed Buying Companies to acquire electronic weighing scales for cocoa purchases.
He assured of cheat-proof nature of the electronic scales and expressed the hope that the step would lessen the degree of cheating perpetrated by PCs and guarantee farmers of their expected incomes.
Mr Aidoo said when introduced, the use of the electronic scales would be mandatory and binding on all cocoa buying companies, saying companies without that would not be allowed to operate.
Speaking on theme, Mr. Aidoo said given the numerous health benefits of cocoa, “there is no doubt that if we grow more cocoa, eat more cocoa and export the excess, we will not only create wealth, but improve the health status of the populace which will serve as a catalyst in our collective resolve to build a Ghana Beyond Aid”.