The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is expected to roll out service provisions to farmers to enable them to grow and prosper while increasing farm yields.
The provisions are coming after the successful introduction of hand pollination and pruning of cocoa farms across the country.
Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, who disclosed this, said the cost-effective service provisions would be organized in such a way that the market pays.
“Services like pruning, application of fertilizers, weeding, and hand pollination. We want all these to be come through to the farmer by private service providers in making cocoa farming a business,” he indicated.
He wants farmers to come together to form cooperatives for COCOBOD to be able to channel various service delivery models to them as well as inputs, pointing out that COCOBOD had engaged with private companies to deliver the services to farmers.
Speaking at the national launch of farmer cooperatives in the cocoa sector in Kumasi, Mr Aidoo said COCOBOD, through CHED, was working to facilitate the registration of farmer associations into sustainable societies that would work on behalf of their members for their mutual benefit.
According to him, the cooperatives would help the farmers to adopt numerous Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) being implemented by COCOBOD independently.
Farmer cooperatives can plan programmes and invite officials from CHED to engage them on new trends in extension services to improve their farm productivity, the COCOBOD CEO noted, and added that farmers could also receive trainings and technical recommendations on farm practices to produce more on the same field area.
Mr Aidoo said the cooperatives would again help to synchronize the activities of farmer-groups to align with operational schedule of COCOBOD, asserting that the cooperatives will help the farmers to become self-sustaining in cocoa production and management of cocoa farming with entrepreneurial motive.
Currently, a total of 1,342 association/groups/cooperatives has been identified by CHED out of which 512 are cooperatives fully registered with the Department of Cooperative, whilst efforts are still underway by COCOBOD to help the remaining associations to register cooperatives.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of perennial crops, George Oduro disclosed that research had revealed that more than 3 million people work in the cocoa sector.
“This indeed affirms that cocoa is the backbone of the country's economy. When the NPP government assumed power in 2017 there were teething problems in the cocoa sector, and gradually the Agric Ministries together with COCOBOD is addressing them one after the other,” he noted.
He continued that COCOBOD is bring in new machines to assist farmers weed farms and praised management of COCOBOD for the initiatives.