Cocoa farmers have been counseled to stick to the use of only COCOBOD approved agro- pesticides to ensure effective and sustainable pests and disease control on their cocoa farms.
This should also go in tandem with expert extension advice on the right concentration or quantity as well as the duration of intermittent usage, to help maximize the potency impact of the pesticides, whiles minimizing any likely antagonizing effects on the soil.
Mr Kwame Obeng Adjinah, Technical Consultant of the CHEMICO Ltd, an agro-industrial firm in Ghana, who gave the advice, said this would also lead to sustainable increase in yield and quality of the cocoa beans to help the cocoa farmer ensure good return on investments and to keep him in business.
He was speaking at a grand durbar held at Antoakrom in the Amansie West District of Ashanti which brought together in excess of 1,200 farmers in the Antoakrom Cocoa District.
The event was arranged by CHEMICO Limited, producers of ‘Akate Master’- an anti-capsid pesticide in collaboration with the Ashanti Regional Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD.
The focus was to sensitize the farmers on the need to utilize only COCOBOD approved agro-chemicals on their farms and to introduce to them some of CHEMICO’s new products; ‘Champion Fungicide’ and the ‘Fungikill’, which could control the cocoa black pod disease.
The durbar was also meant to explain to the farmers the application methods of the various chemicals introduced and their sustainable benefits.
Other products ‘Cocoasett’ and ‘Cocoa Feed’, he said, are also granular fertilizers to help improve the yield of the crop whiles also promoting the flowering and the retention of flowers for abundant pods and larger, quality beans.
Mr Adjinah said his outfit had contributed to the sustainable control of pests and diseases of cocoa farms in Ghana since 1959, adding that ensuring continuous and sustainable businesses of farmers and actors in the cocoa industry and value chain, was their priority.
Mr Kwadwo Danso, the Ashanti Regional CHED Manager, said the right application of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, was very necessary for farmers to follow, since the abuse and wrong usage could destroy vital insects and other living organisms whose existence were crucial for biodiversity and sustainability in agriculture.
Nana Okyere Ampem, Chief of the Manso and the Antoakrom Traditional Area commended CHEMICO Ltd. and CHED for the sensitization, which also provided the space for farmers to seek clarifications and redress on sustainable methods of pests and diseases control.
He also commended the farmers for their hard work and urged them not to give up since their efforts contributed to the upkeep of major families especially in the rural communities and the economy of the nation at large.