The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has inaugurated a Cocoa Farming and Marketing Cooperative in Elubo Cocoa District under Jomoro Municipality.
This is part of COCOBOD's ongoing inauguration of Cooperatives in all the Cocoa Districts across the seven regional growing areas in the country.
This is to bring all cocoa farmers together on one scale to fight for a common goal.
Apart from the District Cooperatives being inaugurated, each Cocoa District has various cooperatives under it.
The Elubo Cocoa District has 96 cooperatives and over 6,000 cocoa farmers have been registered under it.
Ten members were elected as executives to steer affairs of the Elubo Cooperative for some years.
Speaking at the colourful inaugural ceremony held at Samenye M/A Basic School Park, the Western South Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division, Mr. Samuel Ankamah Asare, thanked the cocoa farmers for coming together to form the Elubo Cooperative.
He said the Cooperative would help the farmers to benefit from activities and operations of COCOBOD.
Mr. Ankamah Asare called on the executives to exercise high sense of transparency and accountability in the discharge of their duties.
He also urged them to be truthful to their members.
"I want to urge you to be truthful, transparent and accountable so that any help the Government would give to cocoa farmers, would also benefit the Elubo Cocoa District", he said.
According to him, COCOBOD has introduced new policies and programs to boost productivity.
One of them, he said was the new fertilizer policy that would benefit farmers registered under the Cooperative.
According to him, these fertilizers will be given to the farmers who would pay back in trenches.
He disclosed that the era where cocoa farmers used cutlasses and hoes for their activities has become a thing of the past because COCOBOD would assist them with machines for their farming activities.
He advised politicians not to use the cocoa sector program to do politics and therefore urged Ghanaians to support COCOBOD to develop the sector.
Mr. Ankamah bemoaned how cocoa production in the country was declining, and therefore attributed the cause to diseases.
He said when it comes to the region that produces quantity of cocoa, Western North Region was high but said recently their production had reduced drastically from 350,000 metric tonnes to 135,000 metric tonnes due to the disease.
In this regard, he announced that COCOBOD has introduced Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme to replace the affected cocoa trees.
He explained that COCOBOD was going to employ labourers to cut down the trees and plant new ones, adding that the affected farmers would be compensated.
On his part, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Jomoro, Hon. Ernest Kofie urged the executives to avoid discrimination and be accountable to members of the Cooperative.
He pledged his readiness to support the Cooperative to succeed, adding that his outfit is opened to them. "We cannot talk about cocoa growing area without mentioning Jomoro Municipality".
Hon. Kofie noted that Jomoro produces the best quality of cocoa beans in the world.
He disclosed that recently, two Cocoa Chief farmers received international awards for producing the best quality of cocoa beans.
He said the Jomoro District had produced a lot of National Cocoa best farmers in the country after impressive performance.
The MCE stressed that last year, through the help of the Government, the Jomoro Municipal Assembly distributed 250,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers free of charge.
He, therefore seized the opportunity to announce that the Assembly was going to repeat same, by distributing 800,000 cocoa seedlings free of charge to farmers in the coming months.
He urged cocoa farmers in the area to take advantage of the free seedlings to increase productivity.
Mr. Kofie said the distribution would be done on non-partisan basis.
On road network, the MCE assured the farmers that government would construct the deplorable roads in the farming communities.
The newly elected chairman of Elubo Cocoa District Cooperative, Mr. Asirifi Duku, in an address, lauded COCOBOD for the initiative.
He promised to fight for the welfare of his members in a transparent manner.
He seized the charged atmosphere to appeal to government to address some pertinent challenges facing them especially the appalling road network and lack of adequate classroom blocks in the farming communities.
He also appealed to COCOBOD to make chemicals available at the right time and urged Government to increase the price of cocoa in the next cocoa season.