Cocoa farmers have been urged not to allow themselves to be influenced by the huge sums of money being offered by some individuals to convince them to sell their farmlands for illegal and small scale mining activities.
They should not allow one time quick money to entice them to dispose of a heritage which could serve the present and future generations of the family for many years.
Mr Ebenezer K. Agyen, Acting Ashanti Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, who made the call, said cocoa was not only the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, but also a treasured by families and communities.
There was therefore, the need to protect cocoa farmlands and prevent them from being used for illegal mining activities in the country.
Mr Agyen was speaking at the seventh annual general meeting of the Kokoo Pa Farmers Association in Kumasi.
The meeting was held under the theme “the effects of illegal mining (galamsey) on the future production of cocoa in Ghana”.
Mr Agyen said cocoa farmers needed to form stronger associations in communities to enable them to have the strength and one voice to resist attempts by individuals and groups to take their farmlands for mining activities.
He said the government through COCOBOD, was implementing various productivity enhancement schemes to help individual farmers to increase crop yields and thereby, increase cocoa beans production in the country.
Mr Frederick Amponsah, Executive Director of Kokoo Pa Farmers Association, said the objective of the organisation had been to promote the adoption of sustainable farming practice to achieve economic and social well-being of its members and their communities.
This was being done through capacity building and training of their members to enable them to become knowledgeable in sustainable agricultural production practices to help increase their crop yields and incomes.
He said the Village Savings and Loans Association Project, which was being implemented by the Association, so far, had about 5,966 members who were in 256 groups in 145 communities.
A total amount of GHc 4,989,100 had so far been disbursed to 2,628 farmers to support their activities.
Mr Vincent Frimpong Manu, Board Chairman of the Association said, to ensure that members adopts best agricultural practices, the Association engaged some extension officers and supported them with logistics such as motorbikes to be able to visit the farmers regularly.
He advised the farmers not to allow themselves to be enticed with the various sums of money being offered by some people to influence them to dispose of their farmlands, since cocoa production was the surest way to sustain their families’ income for many years.
Mr Peter Aidoo, Chairman of the Association said it was currently operating in 278 communities in 11 districts of three cocoa producing regions in Ghana, with a total membership of 10,300 farmers.
He urged the farmers to embrace new technologies to help them get more yields in cocoa production to increase their income