The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has charged cocoa farmers to be business minded in operating their farms and to partake fully in the various programmes introduced by COCOBOD to ensure good farm yields and to increase profits."Good farming practices, like pruning, the timely application of fertilizers and proper pests control are essential at all times," he said.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo stated this while interacting with farmers in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions, on the first day of his week-long tour of cocoa farms across the county.
He was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Executive of Operations at COCOBOD, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, as well, as Directors and Research Scientists from COCOBOD.
The tour is aimed at assessing the level of farmer participation in the various farm productivity improvement programmes implemented by COCOBOD; it is also to gathering first hand knowledge of the challenges facing farmers at different parts of the cocoa producing areas; and to hold farmer rallies to interact with farmers.
"As a cocoa farmer, you need to think of your farm as a business," Mr. Aidoo advised while interacting with Joe Bafour and his farm employees, during a stop over on his 8 acre cocoa farm in the Ashante Region.
“And as a business person, you should always invest a portion of your profits back into your business," that is how you stay profitable for a long time.
"If you properly prune the crops, apply the right fertilizer at the right time and practice hand pollination. An acre of cocoa trees can yield 20bags worth of cocoa. Make sure to invest the cost of at least two bags back into the farm. One bag can pay for your fertilizers and another bag for pollination. You will still have 18 bags left. That is good business," he advised.
He asked the farmers to take full advantage of the fact that the government of Ghana has subsidized fertilizers for cocoa farmers while the licensed cocoa buying companies also have fertilizer credit faculties to make access to fertilizers a lot easier for farmers.
“Ghana is the only country where we have subsidized fertilizers for our cocoa farmers by more than half the cost,” Mr. Aidoo stated, adding that, the subsidy aims to remove the cost barrier to accessing fertilizers in a timely manner.
The farmers expressed their gratitude for the visit and the chance to interact with the COCOBOD officials. They testified to the yield improvements that have resulted from the mass spraying exercise and particularly the hand pollination exercise on their farmers.
The COCOBOD Boss was thankful to the farmers for their hard work and profound contribution to the nation. He encouraged them to implement all of COCOBOD’s productivity programmes to increase their produce.