An ISO Certified Company
GA-105-8378
+233-571-461113
Mon-Fri: 08:00 - 17:00

COCOBOD programme improves cocoa yield

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has pruned about 12, 424.4 hectares of cocoa farms this year in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions as part of its Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP).

The mass pruning exercise, which started in March 2019 and is expected to end this month, forms part of the implementation of various programmes by COCOBOD to improve the yield of cocoa farmers without necessarily expanding their farms.

The pruning is being done to remove some cocoa trees and branches from overcrowded cocoa farms to allow enough sunshine and air which are necessary to improve the health of the trees for better yields.

A total of 14,645 cocoa farms and 14,510 cocoa farmers have benefited from the exercise executed by 2,719 hired labourers.

Pruning exercise

These came to light when the Director of Human Resource/Solicitor Secretary of CoCoBod, Mr Francis Akwasi Opoku, visited some cocoa farms in the Ahafo and Bono regions to inspect the pruning exercise being undertaken by youth gangs employed by the company.

Addressing some of the gangs in various cocoa farms at Bechem Junction and Kwasuso, Mr Opoku commended them for the zeal and commitment to enable the company to achieve the objectives of the exercise.

He also visited some farms where the youth had been employed to artificially pollinate the cocoa trees to increase their yields.

Overaged trees

For his part, the Deputy Director of the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, Dr Nii Tackie-Otoo, said Ghana was currently surviving on the production from 60 per cent of all cocoa trees since 23 per cent of the cocoa trees were overaged while 17 per cent had been wrecked with diseases.

“It is the productivity from the PEP that is sustaining the cocoa industry”, he stated and encouraged farmers to accept the policy to prune their cocoa farms for increased yields.

“We do not want the farmers to expand their farms unnecessarily but rather embrace the good agronomic practices being taught under the PEP to enable them reap better yields from their existing farms”, he stated.

Dr Tackie-Otoo advised farmers to consider their farming activities as business and reserve part of their profits to supplement efforts by the government in order to improve on their incomes.

Testimony

A prominent cocoa farmer at Kwasuso, Mr Anthony Appiah Ankrah, said the government assisted in pruning three acres out of his 60-acre cocoa farm and explained that the increased production from the pruned area had encouraged him to prune the remaining area himself.

He stated that the pruning exercise, coupled with the provision of liquid fertiliser, artificial pollination and the supply of other inputs had begun to have a positive impact on the cocoa industry and appealed to the government to expand such policies and programmes.

However, a leader of one of the gangs pruning the various farms, Sampson Anane, mentioned insufficient tools such as adjustable ladder, boots and clothing as some of the problems hampering the smooth implementation of the programme.

He also called for regular training for those who had been engaged for the pruning and other programmes aimed at improving on the yields of cocoa farmers.

SOURCE : www.graphic.com.gh

LET’S MODERNISE COCOA FARMING AND MAKE IT AN ATTRACTIVE BUSINESS VENTURE – COCOBOD BOSS

Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has charged management of COCOBOD to adopt simple but appropriate technologies to ease the work of cocoa farmers and make cocoa farming an attractive business venture, especially for the youth.

Hon Aidoo said the time has come for cocoa farming to be seen as a viable business venture with established service providers along the cocoa value chain, who will provide various services right at the farm gate to the farmer, on demand. He made these statements at a retreat held for the top management of COCOBOD in the Eastern Region.

The Chief Executive reiterated the need for Management of COCOBOD to confront issues bothering on cocoa sustainability head-on. He urged management to implement strategies designed by COCOBOD to improve productivity and enhance the welfare of cocoa farmers.

He stressed the need for all departments, divisions and subsidiaries to work closely together to tackle challenges that come up in their day-to-day administration. He emphasized that the cocoa industry is going through some trying times due to the decline in the world market price of cocoa, and the spread of diseases and pests in most cocoa farms, among others.

“This is the time to bring to bear all the skill sets and competencies, and experiences to address these challenges head-on for the cocoa industry to take its pride of place in the economic development of Ghana”, he said

Hon. Aidoo was particularly emphatic about vertical productivity, whereby, farmers can increase yield per hectare through the adoption of Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEP) without compromising the environment.

‘We need to be conscious of our environment so instead of venturing into virgin or new forests for farming, the same plot of land can be cultivated to increase yield through pruning, hand pollination, irrigation, extension services and disease control, among other interventions’, he said.

The retreat brought together all heads of divisions and subsidiaries of COCOBOD, namely Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Seed Production Division, Cocoa Health and Extension Division, Quality Control Company, Cocoa Marketing Company, as well as, Deputy Chief Executives in charge of Finance & Administration, Agronomy & Quality Control and Operations.

QCC Acquired Biodiesel Is For Insecticide Dilution, Not Vegetable Cooking Oil – COCOBOD

The Quality Control Company Limited (QCC) wishes to correct the erroneous claim which has been reported in the news, that the company has bought off-the-shelf vegetable oil at an overpriced cost compared to what is commonly found in local shops.

The mandate of the QCC, a subsidiary of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), is to ensure that all parcels of cocoa delivered both to the local and international markets are of premium grade and free from pests. It is in the exercise of this mandate, particularly, with respect to pest control, that the company purchased Biodiesel early this year – which is made from vegetable oil that has been transformed through chemical processes.

Infestation of cocoa by pests is controlled through disinfestations activities carried out by QCC using evaluated and approved insecticides. One category of these insecticides is Ultra Low Volume (ULV) insecticides which normally are available in concentrated forms and have to be diluted using appropriate oil-based diluents (a diluting agent or thinner) prior to its application on cocoa farms.

In the past QCC was using mineral oils in diluting ULV insecticides for disinfestations operations. However, in compliance with International Food Safety Regulations, the Company is now employing the use of biodiesel (made from vegetable oil) as diluents for the ULV insecticides currently in use and those being evaluated.

To make biodiesel, vegetable oils have to be transformed through hydrolysis and further subjected to transesterification. This result in the production of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) commonly referred to as biodiesel or industrial oil. We wish to make it clear to the public that biodiesel; also called industrial oil is very different from our everyday off-the-shelf vegetable cooking oil. Although biodiesel (industrial oil) is made from vegetable oil, it is not a vegetable cooking oil. It is completely different from vegetable cooking oil because it is not for edible purposes and therefore, cannot be found on the shelves of markets across the country.

Again, it is important to know that, even some vegetable oils (i.e. oils from seeds of certain plants) are not good for human consumption but may have economic benefits, for example, cottonseed oil and rapeseed oil. In this regard, not all vegetable oils are edible vegetable cooking oils. Furthermore, in compliance with International Standards, QCC procures all its insecticides from companies whose products have been evaluated and approved by its research laboratory. We wish to state that Freight Accord Limited was one of three (3) companies QCC sole-sourced to supply this type of oil. We take this opportunity to remind Ghanaians of the honourable reputation that the nation’s cocoa has internationally, as being of the very best quality compared to those produced in other countries.

This ranking was achieved and has been maintained till date, largely due to the standards which are maintained and improved by the QCC, including standards on pest control. The decision to use biodiesel to dilute Ultra Low Volume insecticides was taken after careful consideration of all factors including its value for money. It was also important for the maintenance of the best standards.

Finally, would like to encourage the media to cross check their facts with COCOBOD and freely contact us for clarification on all issues involving COCOBOD or any of its subsidiaries and divisions. COCOBOD will continue to adopt strategies geared towards the sustenance of the production of premium quality cocoa.

Public Affairs Dept.
Ghana Cocoa Board