COCOBOD in its quest to reduce drudgery and introduce modern practices in cocoa farming has out-doored motorized pruners and slashers for weeding and pruning in cocoa farms across the country.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, who launched the implements at Nkawie in the Atwima-Nwabiagya South Municipality, said the government was determined to substantially reduce drudgery and discomfort associated with cocoa farming in the country.
He said the country was now trying to move from the traditional way of farming to a modern practice, which combined the use of technology and innovation to increase crop yield and improve incomes for farmers.
Mr Aidoo pointed out that, “for the cocoa sector to move forward and increase yields, there should be modern technologies to assist farmers in their farms”.
He said currently, over 100,000 motorized slashers and pruners have been procured to be distributed to cocoa farmers who had already formed cooperatives to be used on their farms, adding that, the era of machetes in cocoa farms were over.
The implement, he said, had come to complement the mass pruning exercise, which had been introduced as a productivity enhancement programme for farmers.
The Sharp Power 4T machine has multipurpose functions – for weeding and pruning. It is more efficient for weed control and requires less energy input from the farmer as compared to the use of machetes.
The slashers were easy to use and could clear a hectare of land within two hours.
Mr. Aidoo explained that the use of slashers to control weeds had an added benefit of helping to prevent the use of weedicides, which left residual levels of chemicals in the cocoa beans.
Mr. Aidoo said COCOBOD was working hard to support farmers to increase their yields, adding that, the goal was to get an acre of a healthy cocoa farm to produce at least ten bags of cocoa.
Dr. Nurah Gyiele, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, said the cocoa landscape was witnessing a transformation, which was vital to the economic development of the country.
He said the various productivity enhancement programmes such as hand pollination, irrigation, rehabilitation of diseased and aged cocoa farms, mass spraying among others, were helping to increase yields and improve the incomes of cocoa farmers in the country.