Cocoa farming in Ghana will soon become less laborious for farmers as the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) takes delivery of some 100,000 pieces of motorised slashers which will be distributed to cocoa farmers across the country, through their farmer cooperatives.
The introduction of the dual-purposed Sharp Power 4T Motorised pruners and slashers for use on cocoa farms is crucial for the substantial reduction of the drudgery and discomfort farmers go through in managing their farms.
This assurance was given by Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Agronomy & Quality Control, at the opening of a 2-day demonstrative trainer-of-trainees’ workshop organized by the Cocoa Health & Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD at the Bunso Cocoa College in the Eastern Region.
Addressing the over 200 participants, made up of Regional Managers, District and Regional Extension Coordinators drawn from all the cocoa regions, Dr. Agyemang Dwomoh described pruning as a crucial agronomic and productivity enhancement activity that must be given all the needed attention to boost yields.
He added that COCOBOD had banned the use of weedicides in cocoa farming and introduced motorised slashers as a better alternative to weeds control.
Explaining further, he said the machines can be used for clearing weeds, as well as, cutting unwanted branches on cocoa trees without difficulty, adding that, the slashers are easy to use and can clear a hectare of land within 2 hours.
”About 14% of areas marked for pruning was achieved last year but this year, the target is to ensure 100% pruning of all farms aided by the motorised slashers,” he added.
The workshop for the field staff forms part of COCOBOD’s efforts at equipping its staff with the needed knowhow on the appropriate use of the slashers and pruners ahead of the start of the Mass Pruning Exercise scheduled for February this year.
Dr. Dwomoh urged the participants to ensure that they train the end-users properly to prevent frequent machine breakdowns.
”Since you, our staff at CHED, interface with farmers regularly, management is fully relying on you for the success of this good initiative,” he told the participants.
He further encouraged the participants to pay attention to every bit of information given by the facilitators to enable them to effectively train various volunteers in cocoa communities on how to use the machines properly.
Dr. Dwomoh again noted that the machines should be used only after the intended user has put on the right safety gear to prevent accidents resulting from careless handling.
The Head of Business at Crop Doctor, Mr. Sudhir Kumar, took the participants through the machine assembling processes and some safety measures regarding the use of the machines to ensure its efficient utilization.
He was grateful to COCOBOD for the partnership and pledged his outfit’s support towards the implementation of the initiative.
Mr. Abdul Majeed, the Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of CHED and a participant of the course was happy that the workshop will equip staff with the requisite knowledge to enable them train end-users on the proper use of the dual-purposed Sharp Power 4T Motorised pruners and slashers.