Stick to best cultural practices to maintain quality of cocoa beans

Ghanaian cocoa farmers have been asked to continue to stick to best cultural practices to help keep unaltered the quality of the nation's cocoa beans.

They should ensure that the beans are taken through proper fermentation, thoroughly dried, with the bad and mouldy cocoa beans, sorted.

Mr. Ayyamani Jagadish, an agribusiness consultant, made the call during a three-day training for farmers and extension officers held at Behenase in the Bekwai Municipality.

The programme was organized by Barry Callebaut, a leading supplier of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, through its subsidiary, Nyonkopa, a licensed buying company.

The goal was to expose the farmers to best farming technologies - the use of organic materials to improve soil fertility, pre-germination methods, nursery practices and transplanting.

It formed part of efforts at helping to increase cocoa production levels and returns to the farmer.

Mr. Jagadish who is a specialist in cocoa agronomy, indicated to the farmers that proper maintenance of their farms, could enable them to substantially raise crop yield.

He said for the nation to sustain its cocoa sector on the path of growth it was important to aid the farmers to get the right things done - become experts at managing the cocoa trees to boost yield and harvest quality beans.

Pruning, he noted, tended to make cocoa farm management easy - ensures adequate shade, proper air circulation and tree height, sunlight for photosynthesis and makes the cocoa tree an unfavorable habitat for pest and insects.

The lack of it provides a humid environment for pests and insects, to eat up the pods, leaving them with diseases such as the block pod disease.

Mr. Bernard Awaitey, the Projects Manager, said they had targeted to train 36,000 farmers across the various cocoa farming communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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