The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in its efforts to improve productivity of cocoa farmers has trained and deployed ten thousand people to assist farmers with hand pollination techniques.
This was brought to the fore at the High-Level Consultative Workshop on Land Tenure and Property Rights in Cocoa Farming Communities in Ghana event organised by COCOBOD and World Cocoa Foundation in Accra, Thursday.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the initiative is to boost production of cocoa to one million tonnes by 2020 as Ghana’s cocoa output has declined from one million tonnes to an average figure of 830,000 tonnes per annum in the last five years.
“The selection of the hand pollinators for the programme is targeting the youth, especially youth cocoa farmers so that they can undertake their own pollination as well as set up enterprises to pollinate other farmers’ farms. COCOBOD has already recruited and trained 10,000 farm crews who have been deployed to assist farmers with the skills acquired. It is projected that the number will be increased to 30,000 by next year, May, to assist the cocoa farmers in the next three years,” he noted.
Mr. Boahen further mentioned that COCOBOD has rolled out other programmes to make cocoa farming a lucrative venture and attractive to the youth, consequently improving productivity which currently has an average yield of 450kg/ha.
They include the setting up of irrigation systems around cocoa stations, reforming the Mass Cocoa Spraying, introduction of monetised hand-held slashes for weeds as well as initiation of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.