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Gold Fields Ghana Limited has initiated a Cocoa Input Support programme to provide selected cocoa farmers with bags of government approved cocoa fertilizers.
This year, the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation has selected about 240 cocoa farmers from the mining company's host communities to benefit from the programme for three years. To date, over GH¢207,000 has been spent on the programme.
This came to light when some officials from Gold Fields and journalists visited selected farms within the Gold Fields Aboso Gold Limited (AGL) operational area at Damang in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality in the Western Region.
The visit was organized by the Huni-Valley Cocoa Farmers Association of the Ghana Cocoa Coffee and Shea Nut Farmers Association and was to ascertain whether the Cocoa Inputs Support programme introduced in 2018 was yielding fruitful results in terms of production.
Mr. Samuel Asare Ankamah, acting Manager of Cocoa Help – an extension of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in the Western Region – urged the cocoa farmers to be innovative and adopt best farming practices to help increase production.
Mr. Ankamah mentioned irrigation, mass pruning, pre-hybrid seedlings, mass spraying and provision of fertilizer and insecticides as some of the support received by cocoa farmers.
"We are also encouraging them to protect their farms from contracting black pods disease and whenever you see an infected black pod you have to remove it, bury it and protect the remaining pods so it cannot attract the virus," he told the farmers.
He pointed out that cocoa farming in that area had been the backbone of the region and urged the farmers to work harder for the sustainability of the industry.
Maud Ofosua Ofori, acting Community Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Gold Fields AGL, mentioned that Gold Fields Ghana Foundation initiated the Cocoa Input Support programme to provide selected farmers with at least six bags each of government approved fertilizer.
"It was to boost annual cocoa production in the host communities by 10 per cent in three years and to help create and sustain employment in the area of cocoa production and to establish the fact that mining could coexist with farming," she added.
"We are encouraging all farmers to take advantage of the support programme as well as other extension services provided by the agriculture ministry to enhance production," she noted.