This, he said, will help improve the quality of cocoa beans, reduce maximum residue levels and enhance cocoa prices at the world market.Mr Ankomah gave the advice at Amoaku in Samreboi in the Western region during the announcement of this year's premium.
A total of GHS 477,750 was to pay to more than 4,000 cocoa farmers on their certified cocoa beans.The amount represented an increase of GHS 157,750 from last year's GHS 320,000.
Mr Ankomah said the increase in the bonuses was due to the adoption and practice of good harvest and post-harvest practices leading to improvement in the flavour of the cocoa beans.He urged them to sustain the practice to increase demand for their beans and thereby attract high prices.
The sector manager, whose area of operation covers Western South of the Western region, expressed the hope that this year's high premium would encourage farmers to give off their best in the coming year.
The District Quality Control Officer for Samreboi, Mr John Kumudzi, urged farmers to buy only approved agrochemicals from government accredited dealers to avoid using chemicals that contained organochlorine which has negative effects on both humans and the environment.
He warmed farmers of fake products being paraded around by unlicensed middlemen advising them to stick to only approved ones.
A representative of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division of COCOBOD for Samreboi, Mr Isaac Adjei, called on farmers to cultivate food crops alongside their cash crop to ensure an all-year production and availability of food.
He said such practices also help to improve farmers' income.
The Project Coordinator for Sika Aba Buyer Limited, Mr Evans O. Bempah, encouraged farmers to avoid shortcuts and unapproved methods to increase yields.
He said the surest way to a sustained production and churning out of high-quality beans was to stick to good farming practices to obtain optimized yield.
Mr Bempah assured the farmers of the company's welfare packages to build on an already established relationship between farmers and Sika Aba.