The presentation of free cocoa fertilizers by the government to cocoa farmers is aimed at increasing the yields of about 75 per cent of farmers in the cocoa industry from below ten bags of cocoa per hectare to 19 bags per hectare.
This was disclosed by Mr Charles Kabutey Ocansey, the Eastern Regional Extension Officer of Cocobod, at a farmers rally at Asuofori, near Osonase in the West Akim District.
In a message read on his behalf, Mr Samuel Gyimah Gyemfi, the Eastern Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension, urged cocoa farmers to arrest or report any official of Cocobod, who demands money before supplying them with the fertilizer or the surveying of their cocoa farms.
He said the fertilizer and the survey services had already been paid for by the government and that the services rendered are free.
The Bodua Area Cocoa District Officer, Mr Ignatius Pumpuni said, the cocoa farmers pension scheme had been piloted and all the necessary policy frame work for the implementation of the scheme had been completed and would soon be put into practice.
He advised the cocoa farmers to form associations to enable them to benefit from group acquisition of inputs.
Mr Pumpuni advised cocoa farmers whose farms are over 30 years old to cut down their tress and replant them because after 30 years, the yield of the cocoa trees starts dwindling and no amount of fertilizer application could reverse the trend.
He advised the farmers to implement the advice given to them by the cocoa extension officers to increase their yield.
The farmers called for the establishment of cocoa farm management gangs to support old farmers to weed and maintain their farms.
They also called for support to withstand the pressures of landlords, who want to take their cocoa farms and give them to illegal miners.
Nene Teye Kofi III, Chief of Asuofori, who chaired the function, observed that, the soil fertility of the cocoa farms had dwindled and appealed to the famers to apply the cocoa fertilizers as instructed by the extension officers, to enable them to increase their yields. GNA