The West Akim District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Kwabena Sintim-Aboagye, has expressed concern about the attitude of some cocoa farmers in the area who refused to have their farms sprayed due to political differences and thereby making their farms harbour the capsid virus that destroy the cocoa beans. He said the mass spraying exercise introduced by the government as part of the hi-tech cocoa production method three years ago was, no doubt, one of the most beneficial programmes that the people in the district had ever enjoyed.
Mr Sintim-Aboagye was addressing the District Farmers Day celebration at Owuram, near Asamankese, on Friday where 17 farmers who distinguished themselves were honoured with the over-all Best District farmer award going to Mr Rockson Opare. He was presented with a pair of Wellington boots, matchets, a piece of wax print, radio cassette recorder, a spraying machine and two packets of roofing sheets. Mr Sintim-Aboagye noted that apart from the supply of agricultural inputs and services such as spraying machines, chemicals, labour for mass spraying of cocoa the exercise had offered jobs for about 300 people in the district.
According to him, before the introduction of the cocoa hi-tech, the total tonnage of cocoa in the district in the 2001/2 cocoa season was 1,884.4 tonnes but in the 2002/3 and the 2003/2004 cocoa seasons, when the hi-tech was introduced, the yields increased significantly to 2,172 tonnes and 2,832 tonnes, respectively. He said the introduction of the hi-tech was a testimony of government determination to improve the cocoa industry in order to reduce poverty among the farmers.
The District Director of Agriculture, Mr R.O. Asare, advised farmers to change from their old farming methods to help protect the vegetation for sustainable farming and increased yields. He observed that agricultural production in the district had been on the decline in recent times and attributed it to the mass exodus of the youth to urban centers. He hoped the trend would change with the current government interventions in agriculture.