Nana Asare Bediako, Atwima-NwabiagyaDistrict Chief Executive (DCE), has advised cocoa farmers against selling out their farm lands for illegal mining (galamsey) operations.
He said cocoa farms have been and continue to be generational heritage and sustainable financial backbone for most families in Ghana.
It is therefore, important for the present generation of farmers to protect the legacy and adopt modern agronomic practices to increase their yields and incomes for their families.
Nana Asare Bediako gave the advice at the 3rd annual delegates’ conference and premium payment ceremony of the Kookoo Pa Association, at Toase, in the Ashanti Region, at the weekend.
The association is made up of farmers from seven cocoa growing districts in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, who have were organised by Solidaridad West Africa, a cocoa marketing company.
The DCE said galamsey activities are destroying farm lands, and affecting the livelihoods of future generations.
He said the government is committed to provide the needed incentive packages for farmers to increase their yields and incomes.
Nana Asare Bediako, mentioned the distribution of free fertilizers, pesticides, the mass spraying exercise, extension services among others, as some of the initiatives by the government to make cocoa farmers maintain their farms.
He appealed to Ghana Cocoa Board to work to ensure that children of cocoa farmers benefit from the board’s scholarship scheme.
Mr T.K Osei, Executive Director of the Quality Control Company of the board, said the demand for quality and certified cocoa beans on the international market is increasing.
It is therefore, important for farmers to adhere strictly to best practices to ensure the quality of their produce on the international market.
Mr Eric Oteng Agyare, Representative of Solidaridad West Africa, expressed the need for cocoa farmers to work hard to improve their socio-economic conditions.
He said the company is embarking on a number of projects to increase production and wellbeing of farmers.
The projects include the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme, to encourage farmers to adopt and plant hi-tech planting materials to increase their yields per acre.
The programme also aims at encouraging the youth to venture into cocoa farming.
Mr Fred Amponsah, Project Manager of Kookoo Pa, said it is building the capacities of members of the association to increase their yields and undertake alternative livelihood ventures to ensure steady flow of incomes at all year round.
Mr Peter Aiddo, President of the association, said the body, which was started in 2009 with 352 members, now has more than 8,600 members in seven districts in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
The association has been able to set up two stores at Tepa and Mankranso to offer quality inputs to farmers at affordable prices.