Leaders of the Best Cocoa Farmers Association (BCFA) have appealed to government to as a matter of priority, institute a ban on the export of poultry manure produced in Ghana to her neighbouring countries within the West Africa region.
The Association made the call when they paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House today Tuesday 21 March 2023, to register their appreciation to the him for what they said is “the numerous support the [Akufo-Addo administration] “has given to cocoa farmers since assuming office in January 2017”.
Export of Poultry manure
Addressing President Akufo-Addo through their President Charles Gyamfi, the Association noted that their call for a total ban on the export of poultry manure has become necessary because the cocoa sector in the country needs the full compliment of all the poultry manure produced in the country in order to increase cocoa production and reduce the sector’s dependance on imported chemical fertilizers.
“We want a ban on the export of poultry manure to neighbouring Countries. Currently, there is high export of manure to Cote d’Ivoire in recent times and we think this is not a good sign for our country and our cocoa sector” Charles Gyamfi the BCFA President Charles Gyamfi said.
“Instead, we want a deliberate effort by government to reduce importation of chemical fertilizers into our operations while at the same time, plans are put in place to support the production of poultry manure and its wide application in cocoa farming. As you are already aware, this type of manure protects the ecosystem and conserve the environment from destruction” the BCFA President added.
Pension’s Scheme / Cocoa roads
Turning his attention to the pension’s scheme of cocoa farmers, Mr Gyamfi noted that the promise of government made to them to establish the scheme “seems to be delaying in its full scale roll out”.
“Our members keep on asking when they will be enrolled onto the scheme as you promised in December 2020. We will be grateful if you could intervene to see to its full implementation sooner rather than later” Charles Gyamfi said.
About Cocoa roads, the BCFA President pointed out that their “advice is that very soon the rains will set in and the ongoing roads may suffer if we do not complete them”.
“We suggest that attention is paid to all on-going roads, complete them before new contracts are given. This will ensure value for money” the Association indicated in their submission during the meeting with President Akufo-Addo.
President Akufo-Addo in his response to the cocoa farmers noted that he is happy that the farmers have drawn his attention to the issue of export of poultry manure by elements in the nation to neighbouring countries.
He assured the delegation that together with the caretaker Minister for Agriculture, Hawa Koomson, who was present at the meeting, their concern will be given the necessary attention it deserves in order to deal with the phenomenon.
The President also noted that the two other concerns they have presented which are the cocoa farmers pension scheme and cocoa roads, will both be given immediate attention.
In their presentation, the BCFA noted that several interventions of the Akufo-Addo administration have helped to improve cocoa farming in the country.
“The Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme for instance, has helped to restore hope, joy and position the country’s cocoa sector on a solid path to recovery after years of continuous devastation caused by the CSSVD. The pruning and hand pollination exercises have also played their part in increasing yields significantly as well as bettering our livelihoods.
“The mass spraying exercise, which was repackaged to become more useful and timeous has helped to control pests and reduced the incidence of the black pod disease whereas the free seedlings project has assisted our members to establish new farms, and fill in vacancies” the association President said.
“The irrigation programme is gradually becoming a new concept in our traditional operations and those of us who have the set-up on our farms have seen how useful it has been to boosting yields.
“Cocoa Producer Prices have remained extremely good although we wish more could be done in that light. We commend you for taking all the bold steps to ensure that we get value for our cocoa farming business.
“Most importantly, your decision in 2019 not to reduce the price of cocoa when all forces pressured you to reduce. It showed how much you care about farmers” he added.
Introduction of new awards
Speaking to the issue of awards instituted to encourage cocoa farmers, the association state that President Akufo-Addo gave “approval for two new awards to be added to the national cocoa awards categories”.
“The first one is the “Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer Award”. The new form of this award, which is in its 5th year, has served as a motivation to the youth in our communities.
“Today, there is heightened competition among the youth to work harder to win this award. The second award is the “Most Enterprising Female Cocoa Farmer Award” the BCFA President said.
“This one too, has encouraged our women to do better and triggered keen competition among our women who play significant roles in cocoa farming” he added.