Staff of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will from this week begin a 100 percent pruning of all cocoa farms across the country at no cost to farmers.
This was revealed during a National Stakeholder Dialogue on cocoa farmgate pricing and income of cocoa farmers organized in Accra by SEND Ghana last Wednesday.
The exercise is expected to end in April, spanning a period of two months. Last year, due to some challenges, only 14 percent of cocoa farms across the country were pruned.
This year’s exercise which Cocobod is targeting 100 percent pruning of cocoa farms implies that all cocoa farmers will in turn serve as beneficiaries of the programme.
Already, the Board has imported about 100,000 pieces of equipment and materials that will be needed to undertake the exercise which include secateurs, pruners, loppers among others.
The process which involves thinning of branches and removal of old and dead stems is seen as imperative as it is estimated that after the programme is complete, cocoa farmers will experience between 15 percent to 20 percent increase in production of cocoa beans.
Currently, it is estimated that Ghana has more than 2.5 million hectres of cocoa areas of which about 1.45 million hectres are considered to be productive areas.
The purpose of the dialogue follows a report recently conducted by SEND Ghana which compiled a list of various challenges facing cocoa farmers and made recommendations to this effect; bringing together key stakeholders including representatives from Cocobod, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and cocoa farmers to engage in fruitful deliberations.
The report – titled how does farm gate pricing affect the welfare of cocoa farmers – addressed one major challenge, being weighing scale adjustment fraud perpetrated by some purchasing clerks of Licensed Buying Companies.
Subsequently, Cocobod made commitment that beginning October 1, 2020, it will only allow the use of electronic weighing scale to weigh cocoa beans bought from cocoa farmers.