The National President of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (COCOSHE), – Alhaji Alhassan Bukari has express heartfelt appreciation to the government of President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the Ghana Cocoa Board for their strong leadership and interventions introduced over the past 3 years to improve cocoa farming, and particularly, the living conditions of farmers.
He stated that the unique approach to implementing the current set of Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) have had a profound positive impact on farm productivity. “The smooth implementation of the on-going Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) have motivated us enough to increase our farm yields.”
Alhaji Alhassan Bukari said this in an address he delivered on behalf of cocoa farmers across the country, at the grand durbar for this year’s Cocoa Day celebration at Sunyani in the Bono Region, where the government also announced an 8.42% increase in the producer price of cocoa for the 2019/2010 crop season.
The COCOSHE National President acknowledged that cocoa farmers in Ghana have always enjoyed some support from various government and from COCOBOD, but he added that “in recent times, the support has been very fantastic as they are productivity-driven.”
He went on to advise his fellow farmers who do not belong to cooperatives to do so promptly, as there are many benefits and support services only accessible to them through the cooperatives.
Through the cooperatives, he said, many farmers “have already started receiving various forms of support and training to become effective managers of their farms and at the same time support for the implementation of calendar-based farming activities run by COCOBOD.”
“I believe this has increased our knowledge and understanding of the significance of cooperatives and further engineered us to put ourselves together to form a stronger united front.”
He mentioned how farmers, who hitherto could not access financial support from banks and other financial institutions due to hefty collateral requirements are now able to do so, working together with fellow farmers within their cooperatives to satisfy collateral requirements.
Alhaji Alhassan Bukari pointed to similar improvements in accessing farm inputs as another reason for all farmers to become members of cooperatives. “Our cocoa input shops which were fully managed by cooperatives to provide agro-inputs to farmers on credit basis for some time became defunct as a result of the low recognition for cooperatives. Today, we can confirm that such critical inputs are available, and farmers can access them with ease.
He made a passionate appeal to the farmers to not shield any bad actors, whose nefarious activities are inimical to the government’s efforts to improve the cocoa industry and better the lives of farmers.
“These initiatives cannot become successful when we ourselves connive and condone the smuggling and diversion of agro-inputs meant for our cocoa farms. We must all rally behind the government in an effort to expose miscreants who have found themselves into the cocoa sector,” he urged farmers.