Cocoa farmers in the country have been advised to adopt the best farming practices on their farms to improve yields and the wellbeing of farmers and their communities.
Best farm practices such as pruning, proper fertiliser and fungicide application, providing good shades for the cocoa trees and lining and pegging of cocoa planting was critical to increase yields.
Mr Michael Okoampah-Agyeman, New Abirem District Cocoa Officer gave the advice at a farmer's rally organised by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD at Nkwateng in the New Abirem District.
The rally is a quarterly forum organised by CHED to educate cocoa farmers on best practices and to offer opportunity to discuss other issues that affect cocoa farmers and their communities with the aim of improving cocoa farming and yields.
Mr Okoampah-Agyeman explained that government through the COCOBOD had established several interventions such as mass spraying, subsidised fertilisers for cocoa farmers and many other services; however he stressed that without their commitment to adopt the best practices, all would lead to nothing.
According to him adhering to lining and pegging in planting cocoa, increased cocoa yields to 80 per cent, while all the other interventions such as proper fertiliser application and fungicides catered for 20 per cent and therefore appealed to cocoa farmers to pay attention to it.
He also urged the cocoa farmers to cultivate economic crops such as plantain to provide shades and nutrients for the cocoa trees at the same time provide additional income for cocoa farmers.
The cocoa officer sensitised the cocoa farmers on the need to form cooperatives to enable them access resources and other forms of support to expand their farming activities
Mr Seth Yeboah, District Crop Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said under the Planting for Food and Jobs, certified maize and rice seeds were made available for farmers at no cost to provide additional cropping and income for all farmers.
Nana Amane Ankra II, chief of Nkwateng, urged the farmers not to act on rumours concerning farming inputs, but draw the attention of the agricultural extension officers to help them to address their issues.
He also called on the Quality Control Department of COCOBOD to do regular checks on the scaling of cocoa as some buyers adjusted their scaling machines to cheat the farmers. GNA