COCOBOD is to distribute a total of 2.35 million cocoa seedlings to cocoa farmers in the Bono East Region for this year’s cocoa planting season, Mr Frederick Aboagye, Techiman District Cocoa Officer disclosed.
He added that the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the COCOBOD had begun distribution of about 862,000 cocoa seedlings out of the set target to farmers in the Bono East Region.
Speaking with the Ghanaian times in an exclusive interview at Techiman on Friday about efforts to increase production, Mr Aboagye said the seedlings were nursed in cocoa centres across the region namely Kuntunso, Aworowa, Nsuta Krobo, Ayigbe, Bouyem, Nkoranza Bonsu, Gyema, Ofuman, Tuobodom and parts of Wenchi in the Bono Region.
He noted that farmers in communities around the centres had been visiting the nursery sites for the seedlings to plant, saying that proximity was considered during the nursery.
“We want to increase cocoa production in the Bono East Region in order to earn foreign currency for the country through technical advice to farmers, supervision and Officer – farmer relationship,” Mr Aboagye stated.
The Cocoa Officer stressed that his outfit had admonished the farmers to plant the seedlings at the onset of the rains, from March to July to ensure speedy development of the crop.
“CHED officials have engaged farmers on good farming practices before, during and after the planting session adding that we have advised them to avoid the usage of weedicide (agrochemicals),” he noted.
The Techiman District Extension Co-ordinator of CHED, Mr Benjamin Asante Addae, implored the farmers to plant economic trees in their farms to act as shades to prevent the seedlings from dying.
Mr Addae said CHED had established a demonstration farm in Techiman where standard farming protocols were practiced. He invited farmers from the region and beyond to the facility to learn new methods to improve their farms.
He said the challenges had been the unfavourable weather conditions, with more sunshine and short rainy season, lack of irrigation facilities to ensure an all-year-round farming, lack of credit schemes for farmers to increase production.
A farmer, Moses Effah from Tano Anarfo, thanked CHED for providing them with agro chemicals, inputs, extension services, education and supervision among other benefits, freely saying that our farming
activities had improved.
Mr Effah on behalf of his colleagues in the Bono East, pleaded with the government to fast track the implementation of pension scheme for farmers, especially people in cocoa production.