Cocoa production for the 2005/2006 main cocoa season in the Ashanti Region increased by about 39.7 per cent over that for the 2004/2005 season. Nana Karikari Addo, Deputy Ashanti Regional Manager of the Quality Control Division of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who announced this, attributed it to the hi-tech and mass spraying programmes in the country.
He was speaking at the swearing in ceremony of Nana Kusi Boadum, the new chief farmer for the Asante-Bekwai branch of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers' Association (GCCSFA), in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region last Monday.
Nana Addo indicated that apart from the hi-tech and pest control programmes, it was also due to the observation of good cultural practices and the re-planting of moribund farms by the farmers.
The Deputy Regional Manager explained the proper cocoa fermentation process to the farmers and urged them to continue to ferment their cocoa beans for six days with two turnings on the second and the fourth days. He also asked them to observe proper drying processes to ensure high quality cocoa beans.
Nana Addo advised farmers to encourage their labourers to enrol their children to enable them to contribute to the development of the country.
Nana Kwame Amankwatia, Ashanti Regional Chief Farmer of the GCCSFA observed that the hi-tech and mass spraying programmes had contributed to the increased production in the country. He commended the government for its efforts and urged farmers to take advantage of the programmes to expand and maintain their farms to improve on their standard of living.
The Regional Chief farmer called on Nana Kusi Boadum to be abreast with development in the industry to be able to explain issues to cocoa farmers to win their confidence. Nana Amankwatia advised him to be tolerant, accept divergent views and to unite farmers to protect the image of the Association and the industry.
Nana Boadum, 75 years old, pledged to work hard to uplift the image of the Association in the district. Nana Boadum, who owns about 45 acres of cocoa, called for the support and co-operation of the members to reduce the hardship facing farmers.