The Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in conjunction with CALCIPRIL Nutrilizer company, has taken pragmatic steps to fight soil acidity as part of measures to improve upon yield and increase productivity.
The move follows a research activity by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana(CRIG) that Omya CALCIPRIL was an antidote to acidic soils in Cocoa production and can boost yield by 70 percent.
The Western South Regional Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Samuel Asare Ankamah said this at a training session for chief cocoa farmers and staff of CHED from the seven coastal Districts in the Western South Region at Kajebril near Takoradi.
The training sought to deepen the understanding of Cocoa farmers on the usage and application of Omya CALCIPRIL Nutrilizer as a fertilizer on cocoa farms to combat soil acidity and safeguard their crops.
Mr. Ankamah said COCOBOD had identified CACIPRIL as a kind of fertilizer that would improve upon cocoa yield.
He on behalf of COOBOD commended the management of CALCIPRIL for supplying three bags of CALCIPRIL fertilizers to farmers free of charge.
The Western South CHED Manager said COCOBOD was poised to bring farmers and all stakeholders to fashion out plans for important Cocoa Management Systems (CMS) where COCOBOD and the government would design a database on farmers.
Under the CMS, farmers would be given the “Ghana Cocoa Akuafo card”, which had already taken off in the Samraboi District to enable farmers to buy and sell their cocoa beans without hitches.
He said the Akuafo card issuance regime would allow COCOBOD to take the bio-data of farmers and measure their farm acreage.
The Akuafo card would also facilitate the demands of farmers from input dealers.
Mr Ankamah said the digitization of Cocoa farmers would avoid armed robbery attacks on them.
He said a Board of trustees have been inaugurated by the government to regulate a Pension Scheme for cocoa farmers in their advanced ages.
He appealed to farmers to allow extension officers to cut diseased cocoa trees affected by the swollen shoot as part of the cocoa rehabilitation programme and advised chief farmers to be part of the exercise to ensure a new phase of Cocoa production.
The Manager said COCOBOD and the government were ready to bear the cost of rehabilitation and pay GHc 1,000 per two acreages to farmers.
Mr. Ankamah observed that the producer price of Cocoa was now attractive and reminded farmers to approach cocoa farming as a lucrative business venture.
An Agronomist with Omya CALCIPRIL International and Demeter Ghana Ltd. [Mr. Daniel Attivor] who took the farmers through the Omya Approach in Agriculture and Forestry and how to apply the Omya CALCIPRIL fertilizer on their cocoa farms in an open experiment, advised farmers to liaise with extension officers to determine the acidic conditions of their farmlands and check the soil pH level.
He also admonished farmers to neutralize the soil every producing season to deal with acidic conditions in the soil to ensure a bumper harvest.
Mr Attivor reminded farmers that calcium was an essential plant nutrient for plant growth although it has a low mobility in plants.
He also urged farmers to ensure that enough Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) was present during flowering to make the cocoa trees flourish.
Mr Attivor said CALCIPRIL dissolves faster during precipitation and more efficacious when there was enough moisture content in the soil.
He advised cocoa farmers to apply Omya CALCIPRIL with natural fertilizer every growing season to fight the acidity of the soil and boost production.
Some of the farmers attested to the fact that the Omya CALCIPRIL fertilizer had increased their yield with more cocoa pods being harvested.