In view of growing concern among cocoa farmers about how to address the issue of aging cocoa farms in the country, president of the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Farmers Union (KKFU), Madam Fitima Ali, has re-echoed the need to cut-down aging cocoa trees to allow for replanting.
Already, government has announced plans – as part of a number of interventions to improve the cocoa subsector – to commence a nationwide exercise to remove all swollen shoot-affected cocoa trees. This is hoped to prevent spreading of the viral disease.
The control programme, following research conducted by Cocobod which identified most cocoa growing areas to be disease prone, is expected to include the replanting of over 1,000 hectares of cocoa trees in a 4-year period.
Speaking in an interview after being reelected to lead KKFU at their national delegates congress in Kumasi, Madam Fatima Ali said although the provision of fertilisers will contribute to increasing yields of cocoa farmers, immediate attention must be given to tackling aging cocoa trees.
She observed that replacing the old cocoa trees should be encouraged among farmers, while adopting best agronomic practices including growing trees to serve as vegetative cover to provide shade for proper growth of cocoa trees.
Furthermore, she also said government should deepen its support to farmers by providing them with chemicals, fertilisers among others – especially in this period of changing climatic conditions, to boost the productivity of farmers.
Madam Fatima Ali, who went unopposed but had to be confirmed by the delegates, received overwhelming endorsement from the delegates.
In a brief remark after her re-election, she expressed gratitude for such overwhelming support and confirmation of her leadership while urging the other candidates who could not win to offer their support in any way they could to further build the Kuapa brand.
She intimated that “Elections are over, so we must fight a common cause to position the organisation on the global platform for proper recognition and progress”.
She further pledged to work assiduously with the elected executives to protect the farmers’ money and interest in unison with transparency, probity, and accountability.
The national delegates congress saw the election of seven new members tasked with the responsibility to steer affairs of the farmer-based organisation for the next four years.
Madam Fitima Ali polled 158 votes out of 169 votes cast, representing 93.5% of the total valid votes cast against 11 dissenting votes, while Mr. James Agyekum Kwarteng who won the Vice-President position polled 87 votes – representing 51.2%. Nana Opoku Asiedu II, another contender for the Vice-Presidency, polled 83 votes representing 48.8% and losing by 4 votes.
Three Executive Members including Mary Appiah, Mary Kosi, and Ernest Boateng were also elected to be part of the Executive Council.
Madam Cecilia Appianim polled a surprise 77 votes representing 45.8%, while her male competitors, Appian Kwarteng and Yaw Sraha, polled 49 and 42 votes representing 29.2% and 25% respectively.
The Assistant-Treasurer, Mr. Sampson Cobbina, was also unopposed like the president and polled 115 confirmation votes against 55 dissenting votes.