The Hohoe-Kpeve District of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), COCOBOD has on July 7 held a Cocoa Farmer Community rally in Nkonya Tayi in the Biakoye District.
The Community Rally was facilitated by Faisal Dzikunu, CEA, Lucy Dagba, CEA and Francis Eshun, CEA for the Nkonya Operational Area.
Reading the opening address on behalf of Mr. William Ohene, Chief Farmer, Nkonya Tayi, Mr. William Kwadjie, Secretary for Nkonya Tayi Cooperative Cocoa Farming and Marketing Society said farmers need a healthy society for the healthy growth of their farms. "We therefore take this opportunity to thank COCOBOD and the T.O especially for their support to our farmers”.
Mr. Kwadjie added that, “ our major problem is about land to cultivate cocoa. We may say, Nkonya has the largest portion of the land. However, due to Nkonya/Alavanyo has scared the youth to seek greener pastures in big cities. Most of these youth are willing to join in the cocoa farming but the fear of being shot while working is our most disturbing situation in our society”.
He revealed, “Nkonya Tayi used to produce 80 metric tonnes of cocoa beans, but now, struggles to produce 50 bags (a little above 3 metric tonnes), a decline by 94%. It is our hope you carry our message across for government to find lasting solution to this situation”.
Mr. Faisal Dzikunu, a CEA made a presentation on Environmental Social Sustainability Programme. He noted that acknowledging and identifying the problem, and willing to foster peace is a shared responsibility and encouraged the community to build on the spirit of forgiveness.
He touched on climate change and its dire consequence on cocoa sustainability in Ghana. He narrated incidences of rampant bush fires in the area last year. He added that excessive logging of trees, bush burning causes deforestation. He advised farmers to follow the 6-8 per acre economic trees (Ofram) adopted best practices.
Lucy Dagba, CEA, made a presentation on Child Labour and Gender Empowerment. She noted that worst forms of child labour such as work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children (hazardous work). She added that children should not spray chemicals or climb cocoa to remove mistletoe. On gender empowerment, she appealed to family heads to make lands available to women interested in cocoa farming. She added that “cocoa farming is not complete without the active participation of women”.
Francis Eshun, CEA for the Nkonya Operational Area, touched on Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs) in Cocoa Farming. “To succeed as a cocoa farmer demands planning and rigorous following of the cocoa calendar. Any delays in the planned activities will reduce the success of your farm and cost you money”, he stated.
He took time to educate farmers on the CHED approved calendar for cocoa farming and appealed to farmers to strictly be abided by.
Mr. Eshun presented seven STIHL Mist blowers to Nkonya Wurupong Yonkodor Cooperative Cocoa Farming and Marketing Society (3 pieces); Nkonya Tayi Cooperative Cocoa Farming & Marketing Society ( 1 piece); Nkonya Ntumda Cooperative Cocoa Farming & Marketing Society ( 1 piece); Nkonya Ahenkro Ebaale Cooperative Cocoa Farming & Marketing Society ( 1 piece) and Nkonya Asakyiri Cooperative Cocoa Farming & Marketing Society ( 1 piece).
In addition, twenty farmers were presented with Farmer Illustrative Manual for Cocoa Extension in Ghana.
Over One Hundred and Twenty (120), made of 45 females and 75 males were drawn from farmer cooperatives from Nkonya Wurupong, Nkonya Tayi, Nkonya Ntumda, Nkonya Ahenkro and Nkonya Asakyiri.