Breman Brakwa, (C/R), Sept 19, GNA - The Government has voted 400 billion cedis for the mass cocoa spraying exercise from September to December this year.
Mr Sampson Kwame Anfako, District Chief Executive For Asikuma-Ododen-Brakwa, announced this at a Cocoa farmers' rally organised by the Central Regional branch of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) Control Unit of the COCOBOD, at Breman Brakwa. He said that when the government came into office in 2001, the annual cocoa export was 350,000 tonnes and decided to implement research and other interventions in sector leading to the mass spraying exercise and the application of hi-tech fertilizers, which had yielded results. The DCE said the mass spraying would be continued to December to ensure that every cocoa farm had been covered. He said the current 700,000 tonnes of cocoa beating the 650,000 tonnes set in 1965, had been possible as a result of farmers heeding the advice of experts implementing research findings, which had been left on the shelves for decades.
Mr Anfako said the government had brought in more bags of the hi-tech fertilizers into the district and urged the farmers to take advantage to increase their yield. He appealed to farmers who were supplied with fertilizers on loan to pay up for others to benefit from the package. Mr Anfako said that the government had kept faith with Ghanaians by fulfilling the promises it made to Ghanaians during the 2000 electioneering campaign and called on them to reciprocate.
Mr Francis Antwi-Agyei, Central Regional Deputy Manager of CSSVD Control Unit, said about 1.4 million hi-tech cocoa seedlings had been distributed to farmers in the region. He said farmers were demanding more seedlings, adding that, more had been ordered from Akyekyere in the Western Region and gave the assurance that nursery target in the Central region would be increased from 1.4 million to 2 million seedlings next year. Mr Antwi-Agyei announced that casual workers who removed diseased cocoa trees in the region had been paid and said the Unit had started initial settlement of compensations to farmers whose cocoa trees were affected by the swollen shoot disease.
Mr T. A. Kusi-Appiah, Central Regional Manager of CSSVD, urged cocoa farmers to cultivate the habit of saving and to ensure that their children took their studies seriously to benefit from the COCBOD scholarship scheme.