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Business News of Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Source: B&FT

Cocoa farmers pushed to spray farms

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Mr. Randy Nkrumah, District Manager of the Duakwa Depot of Cocoa Merchant Company in the Central Region, has said the inability of some cocoa farmers to spray their farms has resulted in some farms being infested with the capsid virus.

“The circumstances which often lead to some cocoa farms being infested with the capsid virus that destroy cocoa beans are due to the deliberate refusal of some farmers to have their farms sprayed,” he said.

The District Manager of Cocoa Merchant Company, a licenced buying company (LBC), was addressing a periodic meeting of some cocoa farmers who do business with the company at Duakwa in the Agona West district.

He said cocoa farmers will increase their yield in the 2015/16 Main Crop Season, which started on October 2 this year, if they embrace the free pests and diseases control (Mass Spraying Exercise) programme.

According to him, introduction of the Hi-Tech programme is a testimony of the government’s determination to help improve the cocoa industry, and reduce poverty among farmers.

Mr. Nkrumah advised that cocoa farmers should desist from negative farming practices like the “shifting cultivation system”, because agricultural production in some cocoa growing areas has been on the decline.

He stressed it is important that the problems which have bedevilled the mass cocoa spraying exercise are dealt with swiftly, to ensure the country’s projection for cocoa production this year is not undermined.

“The government has projected to produce 900,000 tonnes of cocoa for the next cocoa season, subject to favourable weather patterns,” he stated.

Answering questions from the participants, Mr. Nkrumah explained that government was committed to supporting interventions, including the free pests and diseases control programme and free fertilisers distribution programme to help farmers increase the productivity of their cocoa farms.