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Regional News Thu, 29 May 2003

Fifty thousand cocoa farmers introduced to Hi-Tech fertiliser

Fifty thousand cocoa farmers are to be introduced to high-technology fertilisers, fungicides and insecticides this cocoa season as part of a pilot scheme to boost cocoa production in the country.

In all 70 hectares of cocoa farms will be used for the scheme this year.

Speaking at a farmers' forum at Obuasi in Ashanti, Dr Alex A. Afrifa, a Soil Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Akim-Tafo, said should the farmers observe strict agronomic practices after the application of the fertilisers, each hectare would produce 16 bags of cocoa.

Dr Afrifa said the new technology had proved to be effective "but the fertilisers alone cannot assist the farmers to harvest well if they do not clear weeds and spray their farms."

He assured the farmers that the government was considering how best they could access the fertilisers at affordable rates.

Mr Andrews Y. Akrofi, Plant Pathologist also at the CRIG, said it was imperative for farmers to ensure that they produce quality cocoa beans.

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He said one-and-half hectare each of selected cocoa farms would be used in the pilot project and advised the farmers not to concentrate on that alone to the disadvantage of the rest of their farms.

Mr Akrofi was convinced that the farmers would reap back whatever investment they put in the new fertiliser.

He advised cocoa farmers to only buy chemicals that have been recommended by CRIG to help maintain the premium the country places on its cocoa.

Mr Joseph K. Boampong, the District Chief Executive (DCE), assured the farmers that the district had taken delivery of several bags of the high technology fertilisers.

During an open forum, the cocoa farmers expressed concern about the high interest rate on loans received from the banks.

They also appealed to the government to assist them spray their farms regularly.

Source: gna
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