Gov’t urged to invest adequately in hand pollination

Mr Edward Batea points to burnt pods after spraying Banzar chemical

Mr Edward Batea points to burnt pods after spraying Banzar chemical

Government in a bid to boost Ghana’s cocoa production by increasing yield introduced the Hand Pollination Programme in 2017, an artificial process where the pollen is taken from the flower on the same tree or nearby trees and attached to or dropped on the stigma.

This leads to cross pollination, which allows many flowers to be pollinated a day resulting in massive fertilisation and cherrelle development.

Over the years, many Ghanaian cocoa farmers have complained about low crop yields and its resultant effects on their financial fortunes as such, the introduction of such novelty has come as good news to cocoa farmers in the country.

While presenting the mid-year Budget Review and Economic Planning statement to Parliament on Monday, July 31, 2017, Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, said it was the objective of government to reverse the “declining trend and to increase production to more than one million tonnes per annum within the next four years”.

As artificial means are used to supplement natural pollination, the programme has been successful over the years with cocoa farmers doubling their yields since its inception.

The programme, however, faces danger as some cocoa farmers in the Brong-Ahafo Region have already identified threat on their farms, and are calling on government to as a matter of urgency intervene for prompt remedy.

Visiting some cocoa farms in the region to be part of the success story chalked by the hand pollination exercise, many farmers in an interview revealed a distressful phenomenon in the use of one of the products supplied them for flower enhancing and formation known as Banzar. Ironically instead of flower production, flowers occurring naturally got withered or burnt after its use.

42-year-old cocoa farmer, Edward Kwasi Batea, who owns a two-acre cocoa farm, located at Nhyiam, a village in Bechem District of Brong-Ahafo Region, was full of praise to government for introducing the hand pollination programme.

He said the programme had helped increase his yield in the past two years, however, during the past 2018 crop season, when he sprayed the chemical Banzar to enhance flowering and podding, most of the flowers rather withered after 10 days of spraying.

“My farm was part of the farms which benefitted from the pollination exercise in 2017, when it was first introduced. Before the pollination exercise way back in 2015-2016, I harvested about 6-7 bags, but in 2017 when my farm was pollinated I had more than 11 bags which looked like magic to me,”Mr Batea stressed.

Other farmers, including, Opanin Emmanuel Kwame Akpalu, who also has his farm at Nhyiam-Bechem told the same story.

“Cocoa we know is a good resource as such, the introduction of the hand pollination exercise brought relief to us the farmers which will go a long way to affect the nation positively. We are aware there are other chemicals in the market that can produce more flowers after the pollination.”

He urged government to supply suitable and efficient products to support the good works already being done.



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