The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it will employ 20,000 Ghanaian youth this year to pollinate cocoa farms as part of measures to increase yield to meet the production target of one million tonnes.
Emmanuel Opoku, Head of Cocoa Health and Extension Service Division of COCOBOD, who made the announcement, said the decline in pollinating insects in the country has resulted in reduced cocoa yields, insisting that proper pollination would result in the production of 30 bags of cocoa for every kilometer of farmland.
He disclosed this at the launch of the 25th anniversary celebration of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union (KKFU) at Tepa in the Ahafo-Ano North District of the Ashanti Region.
It was held under the theme, “25 Years of Championing Sustainable Cocoa Production in Ghana.”
Mr Opoku indicated that government wants to enrich cocoa farmers.
He explained that cocoa farmers must prune plants, cut down disease-affected trees, apply fertilizers and adopt proper spraying techniques in order to become business people.
According to him, COCOBOD intends to cut down all diseased-affected cocoa trees and pay the appropriate compensation to the farmers involved.
Aside the compensations, farmers, whose cocoa trees, will be cut down and cleared would receive annual stipends for three years to cushion them, as they await the replanting and growth of the cocoa trees.
Mr. Opoku also announced that COCOBOD would, as part of the policy of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, conduct a nationwide agricultural census to collect data on farmers, farm-size and cocoa crops cultivated for decision-making.
Typical structural data to be collected in the census include size of holding, land tenure, land use, crop area harvested, irrigation and labour, he added.
Executive Secretary of KKFU, Nelson Adubofour said institutional debate, public lectures, as well as national food fairs, have been lined up as part of activities to mark the Silver Jubilee Celebration of Kuapa Kokoo.
The celebration will also be used to re-launch Kuapa Kokoo triangle, its ward at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, health and nutrition fair.
The young women in cocoa production module and construction of an ultramodern complex project would also be launched.
Mad Fatima Ali, President of Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Farmers and Marketing Union (KKFU), said they have laid a solid foundation for the present day union, which has become one of Ghana’s leading producer of ethical cocoa beans.
“I am glad to announce that today KKFU has registered over 100,000 farmers across the country as its members,” she stated and added that through hard work, Kuapa Kokoo, is now certified under Fairtrade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.
The event, which was chaired by the Paramount Chief of Tepa Traditional Area, Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem I, attracted various stakeholders in the cocoa sector.