Business News of 2014-06-04

Mass cocoa spraying exercise dwindles – Dr Baah

Dr Francis Baah, Acting Executive Director of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has expressed concern about the poor response to the mass cocoa spraying exercise instituted in 2001.

“The CODAPEC/HI-TECH Mass Spraying Exercise instituted in 2001 by management of COCOBOD, in consultation with the government to support cocoa farmers to eliminate cocoa diseases, has not been encouraging and therefore should be improved to achieve the desired objective”.

Dr Baah said this at a meeting with cocoa farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region at Sunyani, on the modalities for the formation of Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control (CODAPEC)/HI-TECH Task Force at cocoa growing areas in the country.

It was part of COCOBOD’s national programme to enlighten farmers in cocoa growing areas on the review of the CODAPEC District and Community Task Force, to improve activities of mass spraying gangs.

The team had already visited Hohoe, in the Volta Region Koforidua, in the Eastern Region, Swedru in the Central Region and Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region. He said Brong-Ahafo Region has 31 Extension Officers.

Dr Baah pointed out that the nation produced one million tonnes of cocoa in 2010, but production had reduced in subsequent years, because investigations revealed that inputs for the mass spraying were being smuggled to neighbouring countries by some members of the gangs.

He announced that there are about 205 extension officers in the country and efforts are being made to employ about100 people to guide cocoa farmers with essential technical know-how to produce more cocoa for the nation.

Dr Baah said the six-member District and Community Task Force is being reviewed to make their operations efficient and effective.

He announced that under a new Fertilizer-free Farm Project, 143,000 hectares of cocoa farms nation-wide would not only benefit from free fertilizer, but in addition, their farms would be supervised by extension officers employed by COCOBOD.

Dr Baah said Brong-Ahafo Region has been allotted 28,000 hectares under the project and Ashanti Region, 24,000 hectares. Mr Eric Opoku, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, urged the management of COCOBOD to involve political leaders at Municipal and District Assemblies in their programmes to develop the cocoa industry in the Region.

He pledged to support COCOBOD in its efforts to ensuring that sanity prevailed in the CODAPEC/HI-TECH Programme in the region.

Source: GNA
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