The Western South Cocoa Region of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), under Mr Samuel Asare Ankamah, the Regional Manager, is working hard to achieve one million metric tonnes production target of cocoa in the 2019/2020 crop season.
He said they pruned 91,891 productive cocoa farms covering an area of 281,774.29 hectares in the Region from March 17 to May 15, 2020, under the novel cooperative pruning programme.
The application of granular and liquid fertilizers in pruned farms supplied by the Ghana Cocoa Board to the cocoa farmers through the farmer cooperatives under the Credit and Subsidised Fertilizer Supply Agreement Policy, the right framework was also put in place for a successful pollination programme this year.
Mr Ankamah said flowering peaked in some pollination centres following the pruning and the fertilization, which necessitated the commencement of the programme to ensure each flower was pollinated to become a cherelle and nurtured through the crop protection programme called Cocoa Disease and Pests Control Programme (CODAPEC) to become a pod and contribute to the desired national output.
Mr Ankamah made this known when the Acting Deputy Director/Coordinator for Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) from the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) Head office in Accra, Mr Faruk Nyame Kwansah, paid a-five-day working visit to the Region, to monitor the pollination activities, which commenced since May 12, 2020 in some pollination centres in 10 out of the 12 Districts of the Region as part of 2019/2020 operational year.
The Acting Deputy Director who visited all the 10 Districts including; Elubo, Aiyinase, Daboase Tarkwa, Huni Valley, Samreboi, Asankragwa, Manso Amenfi, Wassa Akropong and Diaso where hand pollination exercise had started, interacted with the pollinators and cocoa farmers in the field and encouraged them to work hard and diligently to produce the desired results.
He particularly charged cocoa farmers to complement the efforts of the Ghana Cocoa Board by encouraging their farm hands to learn the pollination skills and techniques to pollinate their cocoa farms all year round since potentials exist for that in the Region.
Mr Ankamah drew inspiration from a 33 year old farmer, Mr. Issaka Ali, Opokukrom, Samreboi District, who learnt the pollination skills and pollinated his farm in January 2020 and has become the talk of town due to the impressive yield results recorded.
He said although COCOBOD was engaging 30,000 pollinators nationwide of which Western South Region was allocated 6,661 pollinators for the year, it was still inadequate to pollinate all productive pruned farms.
He called on the cooperative executives to ensure their young members learnt the pollination skills at the cost of COCOBOD to pollinate their farms for increased production to rake in more foreign exchange.
He urged them to step up the sensitisation drive to educate cocoa farmers on the numerous farmer-friendly policies rolled out by the COCOBOD Management under the leadership of Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, so that “our cherished cocoa farmers can take advantage to increase their productivity per unit area for enhanced standard of living”.