Mr. Samuel R. Ankamah, Central Regional Manager of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit of COCOBOD has called on cocoa farmers in the Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District to abstain from using unaproved insecticides on their farms to control cocoa diseases.
He said applying such dangerous insecticides on their farms would not only affect their cocoa tress, but also the health of consumers of cocoa, as well as its rejection at the world market.
Mr. Ankamah made the call at a-day’s district rally of the Cocoa Health Extension Division, held at Breman Benin in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa (AOB), for over 1,000 cocoa farmers from Breman Benin, Towoboase, Ohurubo, Ochisoa, Ewusikwaa, Akawasu,Asuokoo and the neighboring communities in the district.
He mentioned Confidor, Akate Master and Actra as the prescribed and approved insecticides by COCOBOD to be applied on the farms, to ensure quality cocoa beans, and also, Sidalco, Glyfos and Roundup, as the recommended chemicals to control weeds on the farms.
The event was designed to expose the farmers to modern planting techniques, proper farm maintenance practices, the use and application of approved fertilizers and agro-chemicals on their farms, identifying various types of cocoa diseases, how to control them, as well as the need to use hybrid cocoa seeds to increase crop yields to boost their incomes.
Mr. Ankamah educated the farmer on integrated crop and pest management, black pod disease and its management, removal of excess shade, pruning and thinning to allow air to freely blow in the farm, usage of fungicides and farm sanitation (by removing the sick and the dry pods on which germs grow to make healthy pods sick), which he said, must be done before the rains set in.
He advised the farmers to form groups and societies to enable the few extension officers to reach them without any difficulty and support in the execution of their works and also to let the extension officers know their concerns to help the growth of the cocoa industry.
Mr. Isaac Odoom, AOB District Chief Executive, commended the organizers of the programme and expressed the need for such educative programme to be extended to other areas in the district.
He said government has put in place a number of interventions to improve cocoa production and urged the farmers to make good use of such interventions and advices given them by the extension officers to improve their farms to enhance their living standard.
The farmers on their part expressed the need for adequate extension services, to help improve their cocoa farms and the regular spraying of cocoa farms.
They said chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides supplied them was woefully inadequate and appealed for an improvement in that area.