The management of Agroecom Ghana Ltd, a leading cocoa purchasing company in the country, has presented farming inputs to over 48,000 cocoa farmers across the country at a special ceremony at Asawinso in the Sefwi Wiaso Municipality in the Western Region.
The input package which cost GH¢ 9.7 million and in the form of agro-chemicals, wellington boots, rechargeable sprayers, protective materials, cutlasses among others were part of Agroecom’s incentives to the farmers to boost cocoa production in the country.
About six weeks ago, the company announced the payment of GH¢18.6 million as premium to its cocoa farmers for the 2016/2017 season.
The premium payment comes as a result of the certification of cocoa sold by the farmers to the purchasing company of their choice.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Country Coordinator of Agroecom Ghana Ltd, Mr Muhammadu Muzzammil, assured the farmers of the company’s desire to complement government’s effort at bringing development into the cocoa industry and the nation as a whole.
He urged the farmers to take cocoa farming as a serious business and follow the right farming practices they have been receiving from the various stakeholders to enhance their operations.
The country coordinator explained that although various stakeholders in the cocoa industry were doing their best to boost cocoa production, there was the need for the farmers to contribute their quota by working very hard to attain the national goal of increasing production beyond the one million tonnage target.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Samuel Amponsah, said the nation’s desire to increase the production of cocoa should not be left to the government alone and called on all stakeholders in the industry to contribute their quota to help attain that feat.
He mentioned the planned irrigation of a total of 400 hectares of farmlands around 20 cocoa stations across the country as some of the measures put in place to increase cocoa production by COCOBOD.
Other measures, according to him, were the rehabilitation of aged cocoa trees, farm irrigation, pollination of cocoa trees among others.
Adopt scientific ways
The acting General Manager (GM) of Agroecom, Mr Ebenezer Mensah, reminded the farmers of the need to change from their old ways of farming and adopt modern and scientific ways of farming to improve their yield and income.
He was sure that when cocoa farmers adopted modern farming practices, the nation’s bid to increase its cocoa yield would be achieved, saying without such a practice, it would be very difficult to make any gains in increasing productivity.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Sefwi Wiaso, Mr Louis Owusu Agyapong, said although the Sefwi area could boast of producing large amounts of cocoa in the past, the situation kept changing due to various factors such as ageing trees and attacks by diseases.
He said he was hopeful that with the new initiatives put in place by the government such as the fertiliser subsidisation, mass spraying, farm irrigation among others, the situation would soon improve.
The GM, Sustainable Management Services (SMS) at Agroecom, Madam Olga Gormalova, announced that with the good work being done by the various stakeholders in the industry, the battle against the use of children on cocoa farms would soon be won.
That, according to her, was the rate at which various stakeholders had intensified public education leading to many of the children going back to school, as well as many parents accepting to make education a priority for their children.