Cocoa farmers have been urged to get themselves ready and support government’s decision to register and provide them with retirement benefits. They should prepare to participate in the biometric registration exercise which is going to be introduced by the government to gather data to enrol them onto a pension scheme.
Mrs. Margaret Frimpong Ayerakwa, Deputy Ashanti Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, who made the call said the introduction of the pension scheme was to secure and safeguard the lives of cocoa farmers during an old age.
Mrs Ayerakwa made the call at a farmers’ forum organized by CHED for cocoa farmers in the Sekyere South District, at Bepoase. The forum brought together farmers from various communities to discuss challenges facing them. It was to create opportunity for them to interact with extension and technical officers to share ideas on new technics and agronomic practices to improve farm management in order to increase crop yield and income.
Mrs. Ayerakwa urged cocoa farmers to see their farms as businesses and always seek technical advice from extension officers, especially in the areas of pollination, pruning and spraying of the cocoa trees in their farms.
This, she said would help increase crop yield per acre, enhance income and improve their socio-economic standards. She also urged them to join farmer groups and cooperatives to enable them access financial support in their farming activities. Mr. Samuel Kofi Buah, the Asante Mampong District Cocoa Officer, said more than one million cocoa seedlings have been distributed freely to farmers in the area to plant.
This was to help replaced diseased and aged cocoa trees so as to boost cocoa production in the coming season. He urged cocoa farmers in the area to cooperate with CHED technical officers in the ongoing rehabilitation program which sought to cut down and replace aged, weak and disease infected cocoa trees in their farms.
Mr. Michael Tweneboah Mensah, the District Cocoa Quality Control Officer for Sekyere South, urged farmers to ensure proper fermentation and drying of cocoa beans to help maintain the quality of Ghana’s cocoa beans on the international market.
Nana Asare Bediako, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Chief Cocoa Farmer, thanked CHED for creating opportunity for the farmers to interact and share ideas with technical officers to improve on their farming practices.