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17.01.2011 General News

Extension Officers Deployed To Cocoa Areas

By Sebastian Syme - Daily Graphic
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Two hundred and fifty extension agents and officers have been deployed to the 52 cocoa-growing districts in the country to promote international best practice on cocoa farms.

The programme, which forms part of the Cocoa Extension Public-Private-Partnership, is a collaboration among the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the West Africa Fair Fruit, Kuapa Kokoo and Cadbury, which seek to support the extension services the COCOBOD renders to cocoa farmers.

The Director in charge of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in Ghana, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, made this known to the Daily Graphic when she led a 10-member team of young Cadbury cocoa ambassadors to pay a courtesy call on the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ransford Tetteh in Accra.

Also at the meeting was the Editor of the Graphic Business, Mr Lloyd Evans, who answered questions posed by the ambassadors on issues bordering on the cocoa sector.

Under the partnership, Mrs Amekudzi said, COCOBOD, through the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), was in the process of developing a cocoa training programme for the agents to ensure that standard practice was observed in cocoa communities.

The visit of the young ambassadors to the offices of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) was to court the support of the company, in order to use its stable of newspapers, especially the Daily Graphic and the Junior Graphic, to propagate the mission of the young ambassadors who are to engage in sensitising the youth to the need to take up cocoa farming, since it is a profitable venture.

The ambassadors, who were recruited from among hundreds of interested youth, after a rigorous selection process are students of tertiary institutions who use their vacation period to visit cocoa communities in their respective assigned regions to run the campaign.

One of the ambassadors, Nana Ama Addae-Boahene, a student of the Central University College, said as ambassadors, they were expected to visit cocoa communities in the regions to which they had been assigned to spend time with members of the community, particularly the youth, and propagate the message that cocoa farming could serve as an alternative source of income, hence the need to embrace it.

Mrs Amekudzi had earlier explained that the main programme was geared towards generating income for farmers on a sustainable basis with support from COCOBOD and that through competitive bidding, cocoa communities that required solar power to operate could be adequately funded.

Mr Tetteh, who pledged the Daily Graphic’s support to the cause of the ambassadors, entreated them to write well thought-out stories on their own by periodically contributing articles and other forms of information on their work as a means of engaging the youth on the issues.

He, however, expressed concern over the unwillingness of the authorities at COCOBOD to make relevant information in the cocoa sector available to the media, saying that that approach was not in the interest of the public.

Touching on February 14, which has been set aside as the National Chocolate Day, Mr Tetteh said the celebration of the event, launched about three years ago, appeared to be restricted to the regional capitals, leaving out the countryside.

He said the quest to see the growth of the cocoa industry could be undermined if the trend continued.

Mr Evans, warned against paying more attention to the recently discovered oil and gas sector at the expense of the agricultural sector, particularly cocoa.

He further cautioned against going the path of other African countries that were worse off today because they neglected their traditional foreign exchange earning sectors when they discovered oil and other natural resources. Share Your Thoughts on this article Name Email Location Comments Graphic Ghana may edit your comments and not all comments will be published

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