Cocoa farmers have been urged to take pruning of their farms seriously to help maximise crop yield and increase beans production on their farms.
Mr Ebenezer Agyin, Ashanti Regional Manager, Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of the COCOBOD, who made the call, said pruning was an effective farm hygiene exercise, which prevented diseases and pests and could reduce crop loses to about 40 percent.
He said Ghana’s cocoa production rate which shot up to 1,000,000 metric tonnes in 2021, was as a result of effective pruning exercise carried out by the COCOBOD across the country.
Addressing the Susu Biribi Women in Cocoa Association at Kwamang in the Afigya Kwabre North District in the Ashanti Region, he said the COCOBOD was poised to assist farmers with the requisite technical expertise to increase crop yields in the 2023 season.
Mr Agyin and a team of CHED officers had gone to the community to present quantities of chocolate products to the farmers as part of activities to climax the National Chocolate week celebrations in Ghana.
The products were made available by the World Cocoa Foundation, an international membership organization that promotes sustainability in the cocoa sector, and the COCOBOD.
The COCOBOD, according to Mr. Agyin, was supporting farmers with fuels to operate the motorised sprayers to enhance effective spraying exercises against insects and other cocoa diseases.
On farm rehabilitation exercise under the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease, he said the COCOBOD would engage affected farmers directly instead of relying on the rehabilitation assistants.
He explained that absenteeism on the part of some of the rehabilitation assistants, had left most of the farms to remain in bushes.
It was, therefore, imperative that COCOBOD engaged the farmers directly, entrust all farm maintenance activities and channel payments due them for the exercise.
Madam Christiana Amponsah, Ashanti Regional Coordinator for Gender, CHED, said women played major role, in cocoa production and that was why the COCOBOD saw the need to honour such women on the occasion of the National Chocolate Week.
She said about 30 per cent of cocoa produced in the country were from women.
However, this enormous contribution of women in cocoa production was often not recognized.
Madam Amponsah said it was important to carry women along the cocoa value chain to ensure sustainable increase in production.
Madam Mary Blankson, Financial Secretary to the Susu Biribi Women in Cocoa Association, commended the COCOBOD for presenting the products to the Association.
She called on the government to continually support farmers with farming incentives to boost production.