Cocobod to recruit 30,000 farm hands to boost cocoa yield
By April 2018, about 30,000 farm recruits are expected to be engaged Â by the Ghana Cocobod, to undertake a nationwide â€˜hand cross pollinationâ€™ exercise, as part of governmentâ€™s effort to boost the countryâ€™s cocoa production, the Â Cocobod CEO, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has said.
He explained that the focus of the exercise is â€œintended to increase the productivity of cocoa farms,â€ by initiating farmers into the hand cross pollination process.
The mature cocoa tree produces about 1,000 flowers a year, but studies show just about five percent of the flowers or less, in most cases, get pollinated. But this, according to Mr. Boahen Aidoo, is because there is a depletion of the population of the natural pollinators.
In view of the situation, the new management of Cocobod is intervening to help farmers to learn and do artificial cross pollination.
At the moment, about 7,000 people have already been employed,trained and deployed within the six cocoa growing regions of the country, to assist farmers to do hand pollination and subsequently also train the cocoa farmers.
This is targeted to benefit over 50,000 cocoa farmers, at the pilot stage, within the six cocoa growing regions, and eventually spread to cover as many cocoa farmers as possible.
The Cocobod Chief Executive said farmers in the country produce an average of 0.45 tonnes of cocoa per hectors, as compared to places like Malaysia, Indonesia and Ecuador who averagely produces about two tonnes or more per hector.
â€˜We want our farmers to also reach that target. But it can only be done if we do hand pollination. In that case we will be having 100 to 150 pods of cocoa per tree instead of 40 or 50 pods that is recorded in the country,â€™ he stated.
He said in some cases there are less than 10 pods per trees because of the absence of natural pollinators, a development, he said, bothers many cocoa farmers in the country.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo, who was speaking at the launch of the â€˜hand pollination exercise,â€™ at Awodua in the Ahafo Ano South District of the Ashanti region, said global market price for cocoa is falling, expects increase productivity per hector to compensate for the fall in price.
He observed that this will fetch farmers more money even in the face of the fall in world market price of cocoa.
â€œGovernment will continue to stabilize the price at the current producer price. We cannot go down and neither can we go up because the price has fallen dramatically,â€ he said.
However, he indicated that government intends to stabilize the producer price of cocoawhiling ensure that productivity goes up.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo continued with his visit to the cocoa growing communities to launch the pollination exercise to Goaso, in the Asunafo North Municipality of the Brong Ahafo region, to inspect a pilot cross pollination project that was undertaken some months ago.
The Chief of Awodua, Nana Owahene Acheampong lauded the exercise to boost cocoa yield and charged those who have been put in charge to periodically avail themselves to take farmers through the pollination process.