The CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has called on cocoa farmers to substitute the farming system that depended on energy-intensive inputs such as cutlasses with machinery in order to enhance productivity, boost yield and make farming less labourious.
He said farming powered by machines was gradually becoming a natural evolution such that Ghanaian cocoa farmers could not be left out in the implementation of the concept of farming that depended on mechanization.
Speaking at the launch of motorized pruners and slashing machines at Nkawie in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality of the Ashanti Region, Mr Aidoo said the time was ripe for cocoa farmers to put aside hoes and cutlasses and adopt mechanization.
According to him, the use of motorized slashing machines will also reduce the drudgery and discomfort that farmers go through in managing their farms.
The COCOBOD CEO said the machinery would again make farm life easy and enjoyable for cocoa farmers as they would not need the application of chemical weedicide in their farms.
He indicated that the machines would only be distributed through farmer cooperatives and urged non-members to join any farmer cooperative of their choice.
Mr Aidoo again entreated farmers to stop the burning of weeds as they serve as biomass to cocoa plants, while canvassing for weedicides to be done away with.
The Minister of State in charge of Crops, Dr. Nurah Gyiele, commended COCOBOD for the numerous laudable initiatives it had introduced, saying that many of them have help in the rehabilitation of several abandoned cocoa farms across the country.
He mentioned some of the initiatives as cocoa farmers’ pension scheme, hand pollination, pruning & slashing, and the Planting for Food and Jobs.
National President of Cocoa and Coffee Association, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, also commended COCOBOD for the introduction of the farmer’s welfare scheme.