The Ashanti Regional Office of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD has made moves to sensitize and train cocoa farmers on the government’s hand pollination Programme geared at increasing cocoa yield per tree.

The Cocoa Pollination Programme (CPP) is an initiative introduced by the government to encourage farmers to use artificial means of pollination to increase yield per acreage, boost farmers’ incomes while raising national production to sustain the cocoa industry.

Mr Abukari Abdulai, Ashanti Regional Cartography Officer of CHED, speaking at a farmers’ forum at Akutreso, in the Adansi South District, said the CPP, which started last year was an intervention not only to boost cocoa production but also to increase farmers’ incomes and reduce poverty.

He said unlike the normal or natural pollination, which could bear between 12 to 20 pods on a tree, the artificial hand pollination could yield as many as 100 pods per tree.

Mr Abdulai, said the idea of the artificial pollination was to demonstrate to farmers that beyond the natural phenomenon of pollination, farmers could still adopt the process of artificial pollination to generate more pods per tree on an average farm size, both to boost production and incomes of farmers. He said farmers were being trained across the country to use it on their farms and urged cocoa farmers to adopt best agronomic practices, such as pruning, spraying and weeding of their farms to enhance the hand pollination exercise.

Mr. Abdulai encouraged the farmers to also engage and train their family members, especially children, to learn the CPP process to ensure its sustenance for posterity. Mrs. Christiana Amponsah, the New Edubiase District Cocoa Officer said the focus of the CPP was to help achieve the one million tonnes of cocoa beans production targeted for the year. She urged the farmers to always engage the services of extension officers to manage their farms. Mr. Samuel Kofi Asamoah, Assistant Quality Control Officer of the New Edubiase Cocoa District, appealed to cocoa farmers to ensure proper storage and fermentation of their cocoa beans to help maintain Ghana’s number position as the best quality cocoa producer of the world. Nana Kwasi Dogbe Akpali, chief of Akutreso thanked CHED for enlightening the farmers on the CPP and urged the farmers to embrace the programme.