Educate cocoa farmers on use of pesticides

The head of Environmental Studies of the Bunso Cocoa College, Dr. Francis Emmanuel Awotwe has called on the government to educate cocoa farmers on the use of pesticides on their farms.

According to him, his outfit has realised that a lot of the farmers have little or no knowledge on the use of pesticides, leading to a lot of them misapplying it, which results in low harvest and health complications.

He said there was the need for government to train more extension officers who would aid the farmers to acquire the requisite knowledge on the use of pesticides and on good farming practices to enable them have high yields as well as maintain good health.

Dr Awotwe made these statements at the third Cocoa Dialogue Series organised by the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalist Association (GARDJA) at Bunso in the Eastern Region, last Saturday. 

The event which was on the theme: ‘Sustainability of Ghana’s Cocoa Industry’, brought together cocoa farmers, journalists, civil society organisations (CSO) and experts in the cocoa industry to deliberate on issues affecting cocoa farmers and the industry itself.

Dr Awotwe expressed concern about the way cocoa farmers used pesticides saying, “Because some farmers have little knowledge or none of it, they tend to apply it anyhow”.

He said such practices rather kill organisms in the soil that should have aided the plants to grow well adding that “some are also inhaled by the farmers which build up in their system and end up giving them kidney problems or failures”.

He however stated that cocoa and its farmers were an essential commodity for the country to ensure economic growth and appealed to the government to remedy the situation.

Mr Awotwe also called on government to ensure that illegal mining is completely eradicated to stop the practice where cocoa farmers give their plantations for mining.

“I also urge the government to implement constructive policies and ideologies to protect cocoa farmers and their production to boost economic growth,” he added.

For his part, the President of the Cocoa Farmers Association, Nana Opambour Bonsu was concerned about the exclusion of cocoa farmers by government in formulating policies that concern them and called on the government to ensure that they were given the opportunity of being part of meetings where such policies to.

From Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, Bunso

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