The Ghana Cocoa Board has warned cocoa farmers to desist from applying weedicides on their farm if they want their product to meet international standards.
With Ghana producing approximately 850 thousand tons of cocoa beans which contributes about 25% of the nation’s GDP, the Chief Executive Officer for COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo believes the rejection of the country’s cocoa beans on the world market due to the use of weedicides will have dire consequences on the Ghana’s economy.
In an address at a meeting with the 2018 National Best Cocoa Farmer, Charles Gyamfi, the most promising young cocoa farmer Paul Osei Tuffour and some other awardees, he said it was for this reason that COCOBOD was putting in place productivity enhancement programmes to ensure the overall success of the cocoa sector.
“As a sector, we have to cherish and do everything to sustain the production of cocoa. What we are looking for in Ghana is the sustainable production of cocoa and to do that we have to do everything possible to encourage our farmers, teach them and support them. When weedicides and pesticides were not introduced on our cocoa farms, the farmers could easily go there and get other things apart from cocoa, and the soil was also rich but these days all the bush gifts like mushroom has disappeared simply because of the use of chemicals.
These chemicals not only destroy the weeds but almost every microorganism in the soil including even the worms that keep the soil nourished. We have to move away from these weedicides. When this chemicals also get into the soil and the beans are harvested, we get problems at the international level. And since we do not want that, we need our farmers to stop using chemicals.”
Mr. Boahen Aidoo also urged the farmers to take advantage of the pruning service currently being undertaken by the institution. According to him, although COCOBOD is sponsoring the exercise and have personnel in place to visit interested farms, the farmers must also learn how the exercise is carried out, so they can continue to better and increase their harvest and yields.
On his part, Mr. Charles Gyamfi lauded the efforts of COCOBOD and the various interventions put in place by the board to ensure farmers are able to sustain their production. He also appealed to the board to address some pertinent challenges which he believed will go a long way to improve the sector.
Outlining the challenges, he called on the C.E.O to ensure the construction of some access roads to cocoa farms in various districts, constituencies and regions. He also bemoaned the use of manual scales in the measurement of the cocoa pods, which he said leads to many farmers being cheated.
He further asked for dams and boreholes to be created at areas which have little or no rain during the planting season.
This year’s best national cocoa farmer and the most promising cocoa farmer will be taken on a tour to some cocoa farms in Ecuador where they will get to interact with other farmers, learn different skills and techniques.
The meeting was graced by some representatives and directors of COCOBOD including the media.