Mr Boaz Ofosu Asiedu, the Acting Oti and Volta Regional Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has called on cocoa farmers to cease smuggling cocoa to neighbouring countries, as it undermines the nation's interests.
Speaking at a regional rally for cocoa farmers in the Oti and Volta regions, held in Dodi-Papase, Mr Asiedu emphasized the importance of educating farmers about the negative impact of cocoa smuggling and empowering them to increase production.
To combat the issue, Mr Asiedu urged assembly members in cocoa-growing areas to establish vigilante groups responsible for monitoring and preventing cocoa smugglers. These activities have adversely affected cocoa production in the country and must be halted.
The regional rally aimed to educate cocoa farmers about the economic consequences of cocoa smuggling and the need to abandon this practice. It also provided knowledge on best cocoa farming practices to ensure maximum yield.
Mr Asiedu highlighted the significant investments made by the government in the cocoa farming sector, particularly in the provision of farm inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and the construction of cocoa roads to facilitate transportation to market centres. Cocoa farmers need to recognize and appreciate these efforts.
Mr Noel Ayibor, the Oti and Volta Regional Extension Officer of COCOBOD, emphasized the importance of replanting old cocoa farms and revealed plans to cultivate over 1,000 hectares of new cocoa farms this year.
Farmers were encouraged to form groups to facilitate the planting of cocoa across all farms in the two regions during the rainy season. This approach would establish a solid foundation for the cocoa industry and benefit both farmers and the nation.
Mr Elorm Kpornu Mensah, the Oti and Volta Region Pollination Coordinator, highlighted the significance of the pollination exercise in boosting cocoa production. He urged farmers to familiarize themselves with the cocoa pollination exercise to achieve higher yields.
Strict adherence to technical advice from cocoa extension officers, including regular pruning, weeding, and the appropriate application of fertilizers at the right time, was emphasized to ensure improved yields.
Mr Mensah stressed the need for cocoa farmers to adopt modern farming methods, as research institutions have conducted studies that offer innovative techniques to enhance cocoa production. Training sessions have already benefited 3,000 cocoa farmers in the Oti and Volta regions.