Farmers have been cautioned against converting agrochemical bottles, particularly empty weedicide containers, for use as drinking bottles and for domestic purposes.
The practice of converting containers of used agrochemicals for domestic usage is common among farmers at Gambia No.2 in the Asutifi North District of the Brong Ahafo region.
According to Thomas Andoh, Sector manager of Sika Aba Buyers, a licensed cocoa buying company, the long term effect of such practice could be dire if it is not checked.
He was addressing cocoa farmers at Gambia No.2 where the company announced a 320,000 cedi premium for producing certified cocoa, under the Petro Force –Sika Aba Cocoa Sustainability project.
The project has reached 4,000 farmers since it started in the 2017/2018 season.
The company explained the annual declaration of premium is to encourage farmers to produce more to meet their financial needs.
It has since 2002 when it started operations, trained cocoa farmers on good agronomic practices to produce certified cocoa beans.
Mr. Andoh advised that rather than resorting to the use of weedicides, farmers should manually weed their farm as the biomass could serve as manure to nourish their plants.
He assured the company would support the farmers in afforestation to protect young cocoa seedlings from the sun.
Coordinator for Petroforce-Sika Aba cocoa sustainability project, Evans Bempah, underscored the need for a deeper relationship between the cocoa farmers and the company for mutual benefit.
The Kyidomhene of Gambia No.2, Nana Sarfo Kantanka, appealed to produce buying companies in the country to protect the interest of cocoa farmers and not shortchange them.
He said adjusting weighing scales to cheat farmers should be discouraged for farmers to have trust in LBCs.
Nana Kantanka also called for fairness and professionalism for sustainable cocoa production.
Sika Aba Buyers and Petroforce and expected to form an alliance to be called Agroforce-Sika Aba.