The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has taken delivery of 100,000 pieces of motorised slashers to be distributed to cocoa farmers throughout the country.
The slashers are to prevent the farmers from resorting to the use of weedicides on their farms and, thus, reduce the risk of having the beans contaminated and rejected on the world market.
The COCOBOD banned the use of weedicides on cocoa farms and the slashers are expected to reduce the drudgery and discomfort farmers go through in managing their farms.
At a two-day trainers of trainees workshop on the use of the slashers at Bunso in the Eastern Region, the Deputy Chief Executive in-charge of Agronomy and Quality Control of COCOBOD, Dr Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, said aside from being used for weeding, farmers could also use the slashers to prune their farms.
He described pruning as a crucial agronomic and productivity enhancement activity that must be given all the needed attention to boost yields.
Dr Dwomoh said the machines could be used for clearing weeds, as well as cutting unwanted branches on cocoa trees without difficulty, adding that “the slashers are easy to use and can clear a hectare of land within two hours”.
The workshop was to equip the field staff of COCOBOD with the needed knowhow on the appropriate use of the slashers and pruners ahead of the start of the mass pruning exercise scheduled for February this year.
It was attended by more than 200 participants made up of regional managers and regional and district extension coordinators from all the cocoa-growing regions.
Dr Dwomoh entreated the participants to pay attention to every bit of information given by the facilitators to enable them to effectively train various volunteers in cocoa communities on how to properly use the machines.
Last year, Dr Dwomoh said, they were able to prune only about 14 per cent of the areas marked for pruning.
Dr Dwomoh said the target this year was to ensure 100 per cent pruning of all farms with the aid of the motorised slashers.
The Head of Business at Crop Doctor, Mr Sudhir Kumar, who took the participants through the machine assembling processes and safety measures, was grateful to COCOBOD for the partnership and pledged his outfit's support towards the implementation of the initiative.