The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo has made an earnest appeal to cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region to remain in the cocoa farming business and resist temptations to go into other cash crop farming or give up their lands to galamsey operators.
He gave the assurance that there are better days ahead for the cocoa business in Ghana. The government holds in high regard, the need to improve the welfare and living standards of cocoa farmers, hence, the effort to make sure the farmers are paid a good price for their labour.
The efforts by the government are beginning to bear fruits, he assured the farmers. And asked them to prepare themselves for the better day ahead.
Hon. Aidoo gave this assurance at a cocoa farmer’s rally at Suhum. It is the first of over a half dozen such rallies he will be addressing in the Eastern Region during his ongoing 3-day working tour of cocoa producing communities in the region.
The tour which follows a similar one held across several districts in the Ashanti Region a week ago is to assess the level of farmer participation in the various cocoa productivity enhancement programmes (PEPs) being implemented by COCOBOD.
The Chief Executive and his entourage of senior executives from the cocoa regulator body will also take the opportunity to gather first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing farmers at different parts of the cocoa-producing areas in the region as they interact with the farmers.
He said farmers in the Eastern Region are blessed with very fertile lands which have just the right soil composition for long term cocoa farming.
“The soil here in the Eastern Region is uniquely suited for cocoa farming. So, anyone who has a cocoa farm in this region should hold on to it. You can farm on this land for many years because it has just the right PH to grow the plant year in, year out.”
With strict adherence to the right bouquet of farming practices, such as, prescribed in the current set of Productivity Enhancement Programme run by COCOBOD, the region has the potential to increase its yields many folds.
He asked the farmer not to be enticed by promises of immediate windfalls by galamsey operator or buckle to pressure from chiefs or other such actors to give up their lands for galamsey.
It will be a shame, he said, for an otherwise hardworking former, to miss out on the good times ahead for cocoa farming because of a decision to give up land for galamsey.