As President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tours Greater-Accra, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo is also on a three-day working tour of the Western South Region to help address challenges facing farmers and educate them on how to get greater yield.
The visit is also to familiarize himself with the cocoa growing communities and interface with farmers and COCOBOD staff on the field.This comes after a similar tour of the Eastern and Ashanti Regions.
He is scheduled to make his stops at nine districts in the region, where he will address farmer rallies at Daboase, Gwira-Anyinase, Anyinase, Samreboi, Asankragua, MansoAmenfi, WassaAkropong, Diaso and Dunkwa.
At each rally the Chief Executive will address the farmers on the various interventions by COCOBOD and gather first-hand knowledge of the challenges they face in their various farming communities.
In his first rally address at Daboase on Tuesday, he spoke about the importance of the various Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) for the improvement and long term sustainability of cocoa farming.
Each rally will be an opportunity to educate farmers on the importance of observing good farming practices, especially, pruning, fertilizer application and hand pollination to ensure a bountiful cocoa harvest.
He is as well expected to, at the rallies, talk about the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) which has been detected in parts of the region and explain the cocoa rehabilitation intervention which is supposed to eradicate the disease from the entire country.
Early this year, COCOBOD began to strongly push for the formation of cocoa farmer cooperatives at their various farming communities, so farmers can as a group, directly access farming implement, fertilizers and credit facilities to aid in their farming business.
Conversely, the Chief Executive has also announced a total ban on the application of weedicides on cocoa farms and a switch to the use of dual purpose motorized slashers for weeding and pruning.
During these three days, he will give the farmers an update on the preparation towards the implementation of their pension scheme, which is expected to be fully operational next year. Linked to that is the cocoa farmer census, which is soon to be underway.
Joseph Aidoo’s rally addresses will immediately be followed by question and answer sessions with the farmers gathered. In his tour of the Eastern and Ashanti Regions earlier in the year, the top concerns for the farmers were the price of cocoa – which has since been announced; the timely provision of adequate quantities of fertilizer; the construction of cocoa roads and the provision of basic amenities for the communities.
Hon. Aidoo assured the farmers that he will see to it that COCOBOD promptly addresses the concerns which fall within its mandate while he strongly advocates on behalf of the farmers for the government to address the others.
Accompanying him on this working tour are senior management members of COCOBOD, including the Deputy Chief Executive of Operations.