COCOBOD has said it will engage 20,000 youth to pollinate Cocoa Farms this year .
Last year, 10,000 youth were employed and trained to perform artificial hand pollination on cocoa farms across the nation.
This was revealed by the Executive Director of the Cocoa Health Extension Division, Mr. Emmanuel Opoku at the 25th Anniversary of Kuapa Kokoo Limited, under the theme, “Championing sustainable cocoa production in Ghana.”
Mr. Opoku said “the engagement process is ongoing, we are about 80% complete and we intend training the pollinators from next week.”
The Artificial hand pollination program was launched last year by COCOBOD to boost production of cocoa to 1 million tonnes by 2020.
The Executive Director said the hand pollination program had “helped farmers, some of them are still harvesting. Farmers have really benefitted from that project because they can suddenly raise their production from 4-5bags to about 20-30 bags”, adding that more farms will be hand pollinated this year to increase yield.
Mr. Emmanuel Opoku also hinted of COCOBOD’s intention to introduce new irrigation methods to address low cocoa productivity in seasons of drought.
“Anytime there is drought, Cocoa Farms get affected, and we want to change that… we want to move farmers from that situation to a better level where they can harvest cocoa throughout the year and make better income from cocoa”
He said 200,000 hectares will, from this year, be irrigated by COCOBOD, adding that farmers whose farms are irrigated will pay some sums of money for the drought intervention.
He noted that “the process is in place, we are in talks with the creditors, we have advanced…we have set up a prototype at our college at Bunso and we are taking the harvesting figures…research studies have shown that you can make 64bags from 1hectare of cocoa farm, once you’re doing irrigation and fertilization.”