Cocoa farmers need to adopt new technology and applications to grow their farms and improve the economy, the Regional Manager, Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana COCOBOD in charge of Western South, Mr Samuel Ankamah, has advised.
He explained that, pruning, for example, together with application of fertilisers, increases production, investments and incomes for the economy of the cocoa farmer.
Mr Ankamah gave the advice in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of on-going training sessions by CHED and Demeter Ghana Ltd, fertiliser importers, organised on Tuesday, for farmers from the Gwira Banso, Dabaose and Kejebril cocoa districts in the Western Region on the application of Omya Calciprill.
Omya Calciprill, calcium carbonate soil conditioner, can be applied to crops at any time, and is ideal for rapid PH adjustment and also rapidly tackles acidity in soils, allowing cocoa trees to access more nutrients.
Mr Ankamah said, the division was connected with the farmers and carried all the interventions COCOBOD implemented.
“We are taking farmers through the application of Calciprill which is a neutraliser, but, people call it fertiliser.
This year round, there’s the other supplemental and that is borax, which is also vital in terms of cocoa and improving the yields of the cocoa farmer.
“Since most of them have applied the chemical three times they will have effects and impacts among the farmers present so that other farmers who are not beneficiaries will also learn new ideas going forward,” the experts explained
CHED, Mr Ankamah said, was desirous to improve and increase cocoa production, and that, COCOBOD, the sole regulator of cocoa, over the years, had implemented many interventions, including the productivity enhancement programmes.
He indicated that, hitherto, cocoa farmers harvested three to five bags per acre,but, with the new initiatives, COCOBOD wants to ensure “at least, if nothing at all, farmers achieved between 20 to 30 bags on an acre plot.”
He mentioned pruning as one of the programmes and quoted John 15:1,2 to illustrate how to treat a cocoa tree to produce optimal or maximum yields.
Mr Ankamah explained “We need to do some few activities on the tree, namely pruning, fertilising it or making sure we provided good soil nutrients to the cocoa tree, as well as checking for pests, which are inimical to the production of cocoa.
“With all these factors put in place, at least, the farmer will be better-off because it is going to increase yields and our farm economy will also be improved. Initially, you’re getting three bags, multiply by GH¢800.00 per bag now, and today, you have between 20 and 30 per acre, the farmer benefits immensely.”
The mission of COCOBOD, he stated was to for farmers to harvest 450 kg of cocoa per hectare, but, this must be increased to 1,500 kg, even though the gap was a herculean task.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, KEJEBRIL