Opanyin Abraham Adusei, the Global President of the World Cocoa Farmers Organisation (WCFO), has urged cocoa farmers to see their farms as business and not a cultural way of doing things.
He said cocoa farming was a profitable business venture yet majority of cocoa farmers wallowed in poverty and not able to give their children the best of education.
“They see cocoa farming as a living culture and therefore do not invest and embrace new trends,” he noted.
According to Opanyin Adusei, who was the 2013 National Best Cocoa Farmer, many cocoa farmers refused to apply the necessary and appropriate chemicals to increase their yield, and adhere to good practices especially in drying the cocoa fruits after harvesting leading to huge loss of income.
Speaking at the first anniversary of the Saviour Church Ghana Cocoa Farmers Association at, Osiem, in the Eastern Region Opanyin Adusei who is also the Superintendent of the mission, said experience had shown that many cocoa farmers did not gain enough from their toils because of bad farming practices when it came to the planting and drying of the pods after harvesting.
The Saviour Church of Ghana, headquartered at Osiem, has large hectares of cocoa plantations scattered over Ashanti, Western, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Volta and the Eastern regions and is one of the major producers of cocoa in Ghana.
He noted that the world over, cocoa farmers did not have a say in the pricing of their products, despite the fact that the crop was the bedrock of the economy of their various countries.
Opanyin Adusei said the WCFO was formed to bridge the gap to ensure that “cocoa farmers who are the producers of the raw material are given a say in the pricing”.
The Global President who is a former Member of the Council of State, called on the youth especially unemployed graduates to give a second thought to cocoa farming as a job because it had a lot of benefits and guaranteed a sound livelihood and future.
On the price of cocoa this year, he said farmers were expecting an increment considering the cost of inputs and other logistics in farming.
Dr Frank Amoah, the Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), who commended the Church for its contribution to the cocoa industry and the economy at large, said the objectives of the WCFO was very critical to the cocoa industry because the sub-standard practices in the sector was worrying.
He said the European Union regulation was to set a standard for cabon levels in cocoa very soon and in order not to be affected he advised the cocoa farmers to use only CRIG approved chemicals and cocoa seedlings.
Reverend Dr Emmanuel Clottey, the Deputy Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division, said efforts were being made to pollinate about 50,000 farms.
He urged the Association to embrace the policy because it had the potential to increase yields, explaining that 39 bags of cocoa could be attained per a hectare if well pollinated.