GHANA - A ten-member Cocoa Disease and Pest Control (CODAPECH – HI-TECH) task force for the Dormaa Cocoa District has been inaugurated in Dormaa Ahenkro.
They have been charged to oversee and ensure the distribution of cocoa fertilisers and other chemicals to cocoa farmers
The task force, would also be expected to ensure that the fertilisers are not smuggled out of the area as well as maintaining supplies to farmers.
The members of the task force comprise representatives of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Security services, NADMO, traditional rulers and the Cocoa Health and Extension Unit.
Inaugurating the task force, Mr James Kofi Kutsoati, the Deputy Chief Executive In – Charge of Operations, Ghana Cocoa Board, said Cocobod decided to provide the fertilisers and other chemicals free of charge following complaints received from farmers about the high costs and scarcity of the item in the market stores.
“Even after distributing the chemicals free to farmers we still received complaints later from MCEs, DCEs, cocoa gangs and farmers that the fertilisers were not still reaching the farmers, hence the need for us to review the composition of the task force”, he said.
He said the decision to widen the membership of the task force to include officials of the security agencies, BNI operatives and others was based on the urgent need and their resolve to stem the illegal sale and wrongful diversion of the material.
Dr. Francis Baah, the Executive Director, Cocoa Health and Extension Division Division, Ghana Cocoa Board, said 500, 000 cocoa seedlings are in nursery sites in Dormaa Ahenkro, whilst one million seedlings are in Wamfie, in the Dormaa East District, stocked for farmers.
The seedlings, he noted, were freely accessible to farmers who registered with the Cocoa Health and Extension Division or contacted them.
“There were also 60 million cocoa seedlings in 331 nursery sites, out of which 13 million of them were allocated to the Brong Ahafo Region”, he said.
The Executive Director advised the farmers to cooperate with extension officers for the right formular for the application of chemicals/fertilizer on their farm and cocoa beans.
Nana Kumih Acheaw, the Dormaa East District Chief Farmer, thanked the government for supplying farmers with the fertiliser, but asked the Board to help them deal with the menace of galamsey activities which was polluting water bodies and making it impossible for them to access water for their farms.