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14.12.2007 General News

Use approved chemicals: COCOBOD urges to farmers

The Acting Volta Regional Manager of Quality Control Division of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Mr. Paul A. Tandoh, has appealed to cocoa farmers to adhere strictly to the application of only approved agro-chemicals in the production chain.

This will safeguard the wholesomeness of the country's premium quality cocoa on the international market.

He said research had shown that the application of branded unapproved agro-chemicals during cultivation and storage of the commodity tended to leave high traces of unacceptable chemical residues in the bean making it unwholesome.

Mr. Tandoh said this on Thursday at a three-week educational outreach campaign in the main cocoa growing districts of the Volta Region at Hohoe.

It was organised by the QCD for cocoa farmers, society and district chief farmers, agents of Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other stakeholders on emerging agro-chemical practices in cocoa cultivation.

He said the use of unapproved agro-chemicals such as callisulfau 350 Ec, Thionex 35 EC, Endo sulfau35 EC, Thiodau 35 EC and Cocostar contained unacceptable levels of chemical residues that was highly injurious to the health of consumers and should not be patronized.

Mr. Tandoh said it was essential that farmers maintained Ghana's premium quality pod among the 11 major cocoa producers globally including Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela and Ecuador.

He urged farmers to adhere to proper fermentation and drying processes and avoid over-ripened pods.

Mr. Tandoh expressed worry about the dwindling fortunes of the commodity in the region despite government interventions towards revamping the sector and blamed it on smuggling.

Mr. Atta Boateng Barfi, Volta Regional Manager of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD), said government's policy on diseased farms remained the same - extracting or cutting - and a hectare of treated and replanted farm costs 400 Ghana cedis.

He urged cocoa farmers to refrain from child labour in the production chain as it was criminal.
Mr. Prosper Zegbla, Volta Regional Principal Marketing Officer of PBC, said the award of scholarship to wards of cocoa farmers was dependent on the number of bags a farmer produced as a measure to check the smuggling of the commodity.

Mr. Vincent Batse, Hohoe District Chief Farmer, appealed to land owners to make land available to the youth who wanted to venture into farming and called on government to do something about the smuggling of cocoa in the country.