Cocoa farmers are now adopting innovative means of sustaining their businesses in the face of the harsh and unreliable climatic conditions including rainfall.
One such farmer is the Tano South District Chief Farmer, Charles Gyamfi, who has now switched to the application of organic manure on his 200-acre cocoa farm at Anokyekrom.
Mr. Gyamfi explained that aside from the failing rainfall pattern in recent years, the high cost of the fertilizer is also encouraging him to stick to the use of poultry manure. He said it is relatively cheaper and easily accessible for his farming business.
The District Chief Farmer disclosed this in an interaction with members of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions of the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA).
The visit to the farm part of a field trip organized by GARDJA with the support of Utz for the journalists to familiarize with sustainable cocoa production.
Mr. Gyamfi observed that despite government subsidizing the price of fertilizer, the prevailing price per bag is still not affordable to the average farmer while the cost of transportation, considering the location of most of the farms and the bad nature of the roads, discourages the desired patronage.
Touching on other aspects of production, the Tano South District Chief Farmer, who is also a civil servant, spoke very well of the newly introduced hand pollination initiative by the Ghana Cocoa Board which involves the manual transfer of pollen grains from desirable cocoa trees to another saying that the technology portends a very positive impact on yield judging from the pods per tree now.
He, therefore, urged COCOBOD to engage more hands to undertake the exercise so as to cover more farms towards a substantial increase in national production level.
On how to make cocoa production sustainable, Mr. Gyamfi suggested that District Assemblies should be made to construct at least one new feeder road that links to major farming area annually, sink more boreholes in farming communities while state policies regarding agriculture should be carefully targeted to benefit the farmers and farming communities to encourage production in the larger interest of the country.