The District Chief Executive for Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region, Agyeman Asiedu, has made an appeal to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to train cocoa farmers to undertake pruning and hand pollination on their own, to complement the effort of COCOBOD’s hired personnel.
He said many of the farmers are ready to be trained on how to properly prune their own farms, adding “I believe that if COCOBOD will turn their attention to that, it will be very helpful.”
The DCE was addressing a cocoa farmers’ rally at Diaso in the Central Region. The rally was one of nine organised by COCOBOD in the region as part of a three-day working tour by its Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo and some members of management.
He said the training shouldn’t be on pruning alone but on hand pollination as well, so that any farmer willing to hand pollinate his or her farm on their own, will be given the necessary training to do so properly.
“If a farmer thinks he/she can perform those activities and COCOBOD provides the training, then the farmer will not have to wait for anyone else. Early each morning the farmer will go to the farm and perform those activities. This will also help COCOBOD save money”, he said.
Pruning and hand pollination are two of the newest additions to COCOBOD’s Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs).
Presently, the company hires hundreds of thousands of people – mostly otherwise unemployed youth – in the cocoa-growing areas to prune and hand pollinate cocoa farms.
The hired personnel after training, move from farm to farm in their communities to prune and hand pollinate the cocoa farms.
The farmers, who have much less to do on their farms appreciate the free labour and often request for similar assistance in other aspects of their farming business.
Responding to Mr Agyeman Asiedu’s appeal, the COCOBOD Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo said, COCOBOD already undertakes several training activities for farmers on the Productivity Enhancement Programme, good agronomic practices (GAPs), among others.
He, however, acknowledged that the hired personnel are not able to work on all farms each season due to the sheer number of cocoa farms in the country. COCOBOD has already noticed the need to train more people and spread the know-how on pruning and hand pollination.
This and other reasons have informed its campaign for cooperatives to privately engage labour who will be trained to work on the farms of their members to augment the efforts of those hired by COCOBOD.
Joseph Aidoo added that the farmers themselves, their labourers, caretakers and managers should avail themselves of COCOBOD’s training programmes.
Anyone can be trained to properly prune cocoa trees, as anyone with steady hands and good eyesight can as well be trained to hand pollinate cocoa trees.
COCOBOD, he said, will increase its sensitisation and organise more training exercises. He encouraged cooperatives to hire personnel and farmers to join the training exercises.