Over 250 agro-input dealers in the six cocoa regions trained

Over 250 agro-input dealers in six cocoa regions have receive training to enable them provide satisfactory advisory services and quality approved cocoa input to farmers.

The training, which was jointly organised by African fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) with support from World Cocoa Foundation, would complement government efforts towards increasing cocoa yield.

Speaking at the three-day event at the weekend, Mr. Isaac Kwadwo Asare, the Country Manager of AFAP, said the interventions focused on fostering private sector investment and establishing partnerships to build sustainable markets to improve food security.

He said: “We understand that to improve food security smallholder farmers must have information about their soil as well as access to appropriate and affordable fertilizer and seeds.”

Mr Asare advised the participants not to only acquire certificate and display it in their shops but apply the knowledge gained to improve service delivery to farmers.

He urged agro-input dealers in the country to avoid the sale of fake agro-inputs, adding that, “This will destroy their businesses, affect yield, health of humans and harm the environment.”

He announced that AFAP would extend the training program to cover other food crops, including maize and soya bean under AGRA supported program in Brong Ahafo and Northern regions this year.

With support from the Alliance from Green Revolution in Africa, he said AFAP had contributed in the construction of warehouses for key fertilizer distributors in Ghana.

This has contributed about 50,000 metric ton fertilizer storage capacity in Ghana, helping the distributors to store enough fertilizer prior to the cropping season and distribute them to their network retailers.

Madam Josephine Dadzie, Programme Associate of World Cocoa Foundation, said Cocoa farmers in Ghana suffer low yield as a result of inadequate access to appropriate agro inputs.

She said, under African Cocoa Initiative (ACI) and Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), World Cocoa Foundation had been exploring ways to increase farmers’ access to quality inputs and advisory services for increased cocoa production in West Africa.

Dr Ofori Frimpong, Director Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, said the training programme was in direct response to COCOBOD’s policy of strengthening the private sector to provide services to smallholder cocoa farmers.

Source: GNA

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