Officials of the company (right) presenting the motorized pruners to the farmers
Modelez International, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, has handed over motorized pruners to cocoa farmers in 44 communities in the Wassa East District of the Western Region to help them increase cocoa production.
Cocoa farmers claim that using the manual pruners is laborious.
They are also not enthused by the number of days they often spent to prune an acre of cocoa trees.
To this end, Modelez International decided to introduce the farmers to the more scientific, tried and tested way of pruning by using the motorized devices.
So far, the company, through its Cocoa Life Programme, has distributed 858 motorized pruners to cocoa farmers at a cost of GHc5,089,500.00.
Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Country Leader of Modelez International, revealed this during the official handing over of the machines to the farmers.
“In 2009 while working out a plan for distribution of agro-chemicals, we focused on pruning and weeding of farms as part of our strategies on tackling non-economic barriers to sustainable cocoa production,” she said.
This, according to her, resulted in yields doubling and claimed that that encouraged the company to make pruning a key activity for the farmers.
Mrs Yaa Amekudzi admonished the farmers to learn, adopt good agricultural practices and use appropriate agro-chemicals to ensure increased productivity.
“You should also use the appropriate planting materials that will make your work easy and ensure good yields,” she implored and continued, “The company has pledged to create value across the chocolate business, protect and grow cocoa supply, brand and reputation, and consumer value.
“We have expanded our operations from five districts to 15, from 2,900 cocoa farmers to 37,200, and helped increase yield from a 320 kilogram (Kg) per hectare to about 1,000kg on the average,” the Country Leader disclosed.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi explained that Mondelez International pledged to support cocoa farmers with $45 million from 2008 to 2018 under the Cocoa Life Programme.
“However, in 2012 bolstered by the successes of the programme, we revised our pledge to $100 million to run up to 2022.”
Mr. Kofi Ayiah, Regional Director of Agriculture, urged the farmers to always adopt the best practices and also make the agricultural business attractive to the people, especially the youth.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi