Cocoa farmers in Western North want swift solutions to production challenges

By Nicholas Osei Wusu.

Cocoa farmers in parts of the Western North region have called on the Ghana Cocoa Board to help address challenges negatively affecting the government’s key production interventions meant to boost yield.

Key among the programmes which face setbacks and require urgent attention are Cocoa Farms Rehabilitation, Free Mass Spraying and supply of subsidised fertilizers. This was made known when a group of journalists toured cocoa-growing communities and farms within the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipality to learn at first hand preparations being made by the farmers towards the 2021/2022 season which begins in October 2021.

GBC’s Nicholas Osei Wusu reports that Ghana through COCOBOD has introduced a number of interventions meant to increase the annual national cocoa yield. Among these interventions is the Free Mass Spraying through which has seen the spraying of cocoa farms across the country at no cost.

Government again has been subsidizing the prices of bags of fertilizers to the cocoa farmers to ensure affordability and easy access for timely application of the farms. Members of the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists’ Association, GARDJA, set out to find out progress made in these production interventions and bring to the attention of the authorities to redress any possible concerns.

The journalists spent two days visiting about 8 cocoa-growing communities, farms and interacted with farmers to learn at first hand the successes and challenges. The communities visited include Ahwiaa, Surano, Daboase, Ntrentrenso and Adjakaa Manso. It was observed that while some of the farms were doing well, others had challenges. During the encounter with farmer groups at locations, they raised issues including the Cocoa Farmers Pension and persistent challenges with the Rehabilitation programme.

Chairman of the Ahwiaa Yendaakye Nti Farmers Union, Solomon Grantson, expressed reservations about the availability and prices of the COCOBOD’s recommended chemicals to spray on their farms.

Secretary to the Sefwi Bekwai Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative, Nicholas Kwabena Gbadago, said farmers are losing interest in the rehabilitation programme due to what he termed the negative attitude of some Agricultural Extension Agents. He, therefore, called on COCOBOD to swiftly save the situation.

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