C/R: Boost for cocoa farmers with introduction of new technologies

The Acting Cocoa Health Extension Division Officer in the Central Region, Samuel Asare Akanma, has called on cocoa farmers in the country to adopt a new technology in cocoa farming to enhance their yield. Mr Asare Akanma believes it will be in their own interest to change from the old practices of farming to the new method. He was speaking at a ceremony by experts of the United States and Belgium to demonstrate the new method of electronic pollination with a machine and the cocoa hutch steel knife to farmers in Twifo Praso No . 1 in the Twifo-Atti-Morkwa District of Central Region. They were accompanied by the Twiffo-Atti-Morkwa Member of Parliament, Abraham Dwuma Odoom. In an interview, the experts said the new technology will facilitate the process of breaking cocoa pods as well as improving the pollination process. According to Belle Bongo of the US, the usage of the hutch steel knife instead of the traditional cutlass will improve not only the taste of the products but also the quality of Ghana’s beans in the world market. He said the introduction of the knife will offer efficiency and make work easy. Konstantin Vekua from Belgium, a cocoa farmer, said generally Ghanaian cocoa farmers spend much on pollination and with this electronic pollination machine that will be reduced so that farmers can get more productive time with less stress while working on their cocoa farms. He explained that the electronic pollination machine is not different from the manual pollination machine but one man can do about twenty trees per day unlike the four sets on the manual machine.

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He said a more advanced electronic machine will even see one man do four hundred trees per day. He commended the MP for bringing them to share their experience with their Ghanaian counterparts. Mr Dwuma Odoom was happy to equip cocoa farmers in his constituency and, cocoa farmers in the country as a whole. He indicated that the introduction of the two methods will improve yield, thereby help farmers earn more money. “A leader must be an innovator. Politics is about ideas and what ideas a leader brings on board should make sure it helps reduce poverty within his community.” He said just like he did during the regime of John Agyekum Kufuor, he will help empower cocoa farmers. He promised lobbying government to construct cocoa roads from Praso to Assin Fosu, appealing to farmers to exercise patience. Mr Akanma encouraged the farmers and all stakeholders to come together and agree on an affordable price on the produce. He also used the occasion to highlight cocoa roads the government is constructing. Cocoa is an essential commodity in Ghana with over 800,000 smalholder farmers involved in cultivation. By Kwame Kakarba|3news.com|Ghana]]>