Cocoa farmers within the Sefwi Waiwso Municipality of the Western region are calling on the government and Cocobod to intensify education of cocoa farmers on best methods of applying agrochemicals.
The farmers argue that most of them are not well informed as to the quantities of chemicals to use for a particular acre of land. They thus want Cocobod to employ more extension officers who can visit them on their farms to educate them on best practices of applying agrochemicals.
The farmers made the call when GARDJA’s Alex Baah, visited some farmers to interact with them to find out if they are aware as to the quantities of agrochemicals to use for a specific farmland and how misapplication of agrochemicals can affect cocoa production.
According to a female farmer, Adwoa Ago, the only way out is for the government to employ more extension officers to educate farmers on how to apply agrochemicals so that they, the farmers, will use the right quantity and at the right time.
According to Dr. Afreh Ntiamoah Daniel, a senior lecturer at the Kwadaso Agric College, misapplication of agrochemicals is simply not using chemicals in their right quantity either using more or less than required.
He revealed that misapplication of agrochemicals causes soil acidity which if not checked will reduce yield drastically. He called on stakeholders in the cocoa industry to adopt ways of educating cocoa farmers on the best method of applying agrochemicals if we want to sustain Ghana’s cocoa production.
When asked how misapplication of agrochemicals can affect license buying companies (LBC’s), and what they do to control it, the operations manager for Nyonkopa Buying Company Limited, Mr. Pious Vincent Abakah, said it will negatively affect them.
He explained that they will not get enough cocoa beans to buy and given that they often pre-finance farmers it will also affect their finances too.
But he indicated that Nyonkopa has a ‘Sustainability Department’ which educate cocoa farmers on best-farming methods including how to apply chemicals adequately. This among others, which he believes other license buying companies are doing will help to sustain the cocoa industry.
The Western North Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division of the Ghana Cocobod, Mr. Samuel Amponsah, disclosed the extension officers to farmers ratio stands at 1:1000. This means 82 extension officers are serving over 82000 farmers.
This according to him is not the best but his outfit has initiated farmer rallies where the officers educate cocoa farmers on the best method of applying agrochemicals.
Mr. Amponsah further stated that they have printed out all approved chemical and the respective quantities that they distribute to cocoa farmers to guide them to choose the right agrochemicals and the right quantity.
He was of the view that the strategy will help solve the problem of misapplication of agrochemicals.