The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has banned the use of selective weedicide called dimethilamine salt, popularly known as two, 4D or ‘Asomu’ in Twi, on all cocoa farms in the country because it is injurious to health.
The ban is in response to the threat by foreign major consumers of Ghana’s cocoa that they will not import cocoa from the country if the farmers continue to apply the chemical on their farms due to its harmful effect on consumers.
The Asamankese District Cocoa Officer, Mr Isaac Adu, announced this when he stood in for the Eastern Regional Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Samuel Gyimah Gyamfi, to address a farmers rally organised by the Akyem Oda District Office of COCOBOD at Akyem Aperade in the Birim South District.
Mr Adu advised farmers to contact extension agents of COCOBOD at all times for recommendation of the approved chemicals for their cocoa farms.
He also urged them to adopt research findings such as regular clearing of weeds, fertiliser application, spraying of the farms, pruning and removal of mistletoes in order to increase production.
He said the mass spraying exercise had been rescheduled from the initial September and October to June and July each year to combat insects which attacked the cocoa trees.
He also urged cocoa farmers to cooperate with COCOBOD to cut down diseased and aged cocoa trees and replant them as the government had decided to give them compensation.
Mr Adu entreated the farmers to report any strange disease detected on their cocoa farms to COCOBOD for study and necessary treatment.
The Oda District Cocoa Officer, Mr Emmanuel Graham, announced that his outfit had distributed large quantities of hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge to needy farmers for planting in addition to sulphate of ammonia.
He warned that COCOBOD would soon go round and seize the cocoa seedlings dumped on their farms and distribute them to more serious farmers.
He also advised the mass cocoa spraying gangs not to discriminate against anyone in the discharge of their duties.
Mr Graham further urged them to supplement the government’s efforts in spraying their cocoa farms to ensure maximum yield.
The Oda District Chief Farmer, Nana Kwame Bempong, called on cocoa farmers in the various communities to register with their chief farmers in order to benefit from the government’s incentive packages for them.
The Achiase Chief farmer, Mr Kwaku Nyarko, appealed to the government to provide Wellington boots for all cocoa farmers to protect them against snakes and other reptiles.
The Krontihene of Aperade, Nana Effah Amoamah I, who chaired the function, praised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for its commitment to the development of the cocoa industry.