In a bid to increase cocoa production in the country, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has raised and distributed 60 million quality hybrid seedlings and four million permanent shade tree seedlings to cocoa farmers in the country.
It intends to increase the number of nurseries to 332 across the cocoa belt in the country. The distribution of the seedlings represents a 10-million increase from last year’s figures.
The move is to raise the current level of production from 850,000 to 1.5 million tonnes annually.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at the 22nd annual delegates’ conference of the Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU). It was on the theme: ‘The importance of Sustainable Development Goals on Smallholder Cocoa farmers in Ghana… the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union Story.’
Dr Opuni mentioned intensification of mass spraying of cocoa farms against pests and diseases as some of the measures the company was embarking upon.
It is also applying technologies to address soil fertility and the distribution of free fertilisers to farmers.
‘The major focus of COCOBOD’s management is to ensure that farmers have enough access to free quality planting materials and develop the capacity of the youth to accept cocoa farming as a profession,” he stated.
The executive secretary of KKFU, Mr Appau Mensah Abrampah, said despite the fall in sales of Fairtrade since 2014 the National Executive Council had approved bonus payment of GH¢3,439,155 for this year.
It represents an increase of GH¢725, 962 from last year’s bonus payment to about 60,000 registered members.
As part of measures to stamp out child labour in the cocoa industry, KKFU has instituted a five-year plan started in 2014 to address the menace which is gradually jeopardising the future of children in cocoa growing areas.
It has also put adequate measures in place to encourage adult literacy especially for women farmers in Kuapa Kokoo.
Already the Millennium Promise Alliance, a USA-based NGO, and the Union have cut sod for the construction of Africa’s first-ever Tele-Agric Consultation Centre in Kumasi.
The centre, which is expected to be ready in three months, will serve as an information hub that provides timely and relevant information to farmers.
The Operations Manager of Kuapa Kokoo Limited, the marketing company of the union, Mr Kofi Topen, announced that work was also progressing to put up a 500-ton capacity depot and residence at Asamankese in the Eastern Region and Assin Breku in the Central Region respectively. The project is expected to be completed by February next year.
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