Mr Francis Antwi Adjei, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has advised cocoa farmers to retain trees in their farms to protect young cocoa plants.
He urged farmers not to cut down all trees but should follow the appropriate method by ensuring that “for every acre of cocoa farm, there must be at least eight trees left standing to provide shade in it”.
Mr Adjei gave the advice during an address of a regional farmers’ education and sensitization rally organized by the Regional Cocoa Health and Extension Division at Nkrankwanta, in the Dormaa West District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The rally attended by about 1,000 cocoa farmers from cocoa growing districts in the region was aimed at educating and sensitizing them on issues relating to their farms and the need to take advantage of incentives like the cocoa mass spraying and free fertilizer distribution being provided by the government to improve their farming activities for increased yield.
He said cocoa farmers in Brong-Ahafo now have a challenge of inadequate shade in their farms because of the continuous reduction of forest vegetation cover.
Mr Adjei therefore emphasised the need for the farmers to provide temporal shades by cultivating plantains to give shades to young cocoa trees while planting trees like ‘Ofram and Emre’ to offer permanent shades.
He said without ensuring the application of both temporal and permanent shade methods, “the net result will be that some of the cocoa seedlings will die out”.
Messrs Ebenezer Agyen, the Regional Extension Officer and Mr Henry Theophilus Biney, the Regional Rehabilitation Officer, earlier addressed the farmers on “Extension Activities” and “Rehabilitation/Cocoa Disease and Pest Control (CODAPEC)” respectively.
Mr. Emmanuel Nii-Arku, the Deputy Regional Manager, also educated the farmers on the application of modern farming technologies in cocoa farming.