Business News of 2014-07-23

Farmers plead for help to fight cocoa diseases

Cocoa farmers in the Atwima-Mponua District, have appealed to the Cocoa Swollen Shoot and Viral Disease (CSSVD) Unit of COCOBOD, to come to their aid in fighting the disease to prevent a decline of crop yield.
They complained that black pod and capsid diseases had become widespread in the area, and that they needed the right chemicals to bring the situation under control. They said the present arrangement where they had to travel long distances to Nkawie, to buy chemicals and other inputs to maintain their farms, was not helpful.
Nana Yaw Bronya, District Chief Farmer, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that middlemen were taking advantage of the situation, to cheat by selling pesticides, insecticides and cocoa fertilizers to farmers at exorbitant prices.
Reporters of GNA had visited Nyinahin under the STAR-Ghana’s media auditing and tracking of development projects, an initiative launched to put a spotlight on how government’s resources were helping to transform the lives of the people, particularly the rural population.
The goal is to aid transparency and promote good governance. Nana Bronya said inadequate cocoa extension officers posted to the area, something he noted as “a big drawback on technology transfer,” was another challenge they were facing.
Ranked the second highest cocoa producing district in the Ashanti Region, it is served by only one extension officer, and he said it was simply impossible for the single officer to cover all the communities.
Mr Kingsley Owusu-Appiah, Nkawie District Cocoa Officer, said everything possible would be done to increase the number of extension officers there, to help the farmers to adopt best farming practices.
COCOBOD is determined to see a significant rise in cocoa production levels, and that is why it has introduced a special project under which fertilizers are being distributed free of charge to selected farmers.
The District Cocoa Officer said more than 800 cocoa farmers in Atwima-Mponua, Nwabiagya, Atwima-Kwanwoma and parts of Ahafo-Ano North and South Districts, have been supplied with a total of 3,400 bags of the fertilizers. Registration of farmers was on-going to increase the number of beneficiaries, he added.
Source: GNA
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