The Country Coordinator of Agroecom Ghana Ltd, Mr Muhammadu Muzzammil, has advised cocoa farmers to desist from going into cocoa farming as a mere activity to earn a living.
Mr Muhammadu Muzzammil said farmers should rather take cocoa farming as a serious business and invest the best of their time, resources and energies into it to make the best of gains from it.
Mr Muzzammil made the call at Mankranso, the capital of the Ahafo Ano South District of the Brong Ahafo Region, during a farmer’s durbar to announce this year’s cocoa premium to be paid by Agroecom for the 2017/2018 cocoa season.
The durbar which was on the theme; “Achieving the impossible to create prosperity in rural community through efficiency, innovation and empowerment”, brought together cocoa farmers from Nhyinahini, Bekwai, Manso Nkwanta, Diaso, Kasapin, Sankore, Dunkwa, Tepa and other cocoa growing communities.
A total of 19 million cedis was announced as premium for the 2017/2018 cocoa season.
Out of the amount, 13 million of it would be paid as cash payment to deserving farmers while the remaining six million cedis would also be in kind -inputs like cutlasses, knapsack sprayers, wellington booths, farmer education among other initiatives.
A total of 120,000 cocoa farmers across the country are expected to benefit from the package and each famer is expected to receive GHS14 on each bag of certified cocoa sold to the company during the period as against GHS12 paid last year.
The premium payment comes as a result of the certification of cocoa sold by the farmers to the purchasing company of their choice.
The Country Coordinator hinted that the company was not just interested in the buying of cocoa but also seeks the welfare of the farmers who would in turn benefit from the gains of the company as well.
He mentioned some of the initiatives being put in place by the company to boost the production of cocoa and the welfare of the farmers, as the farmer business school, income supplementation initiatives through the sustainability management systems among other initiatives.
The Ashanti Regional Manager of the Quality Control Company, Mr Julius Kodwo Opoku Martinson, urged cocoa farmers to take keen interest in the proper fermentation and drying of their cocoa beans so it would attract a good market premium for the nation and the farmer.
He reminded the cocoa buying companies to ensure that they buy only cocoa beans which have been properly fermented and dried to maintain the nation’s regular supply of the best cocoa beans to the world market.
The Chief of Kunsu, Nana Agyemang Badu, who chaired the function was full of praise to Agroecom for its support to cocoa farmers in the country and urged other institutions to emulate their operational modules which has been improving the standard of living of cocoa farmers in their operational areas.