Total output in cocoa production this year is expected to drop as a result of the long drought that has hit the country.
The long drought that has lasted for over six months has killed most of the plantations forcing the farmers to abandon the farms.
What is even disturbing is that the onset of the rains is not regular as expected by the farmers to encourage them to start cultivation.
GBC’s Ashanti Regional Correspondent Thomas Nsowah-Adjei reports that the farmers are calling on COCOBOD to intervene.
A visit to some of the farming communities in the Ahafo Ano North and South in Ashanti, two of the major cocoa producing areas in Ashanti showed that the farmers are desperate and are calling on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to come out with strategies to address the challenge.
The communities are Anitemfe, Kramokrom, Adwodwoo, Pewodie, Asukese and Campkrom.
The farmers believe the early supply of fertilizers, agrochemicals, cocoa seedlings and emergency credit facility will be helpful enough to reactivate their farms.
A Cocoa Purchasing Clerk at Pewodie, Frank Boakye said his total annual purchases reduced from one hundred thousand bags in 2014 to 70 thousand bags last year and the situation is likely to reduce by 50 percent this year in view of factors such as irregular rainfall pattern as being experienced this year.
He noted that farmers are gradually losing their farms because the rains are no longer favourable.
The farmers he said have no alternative source of water to help in their farming activities.
Mr. Boakye appealed to COCOBOD to fast-track the distribution of cocoa inputs particularly the liquid fertilizer as a measure to help revive some of the cocoa plantations that need support.
Cocoa seedlings and granular fertilizers must be supplied at the beginning of rains instead of halfway through the year to prevent the seedlings from dying at the planting stage.
Another farmer at Campkrom Abdulai Sadique asked the Cocoa Disease Control Unit at Tepa, and Mankranso to dispatch teams to the area to assist the farmers by offering them expert advice on what to do at this critical moment.
He appealed to government to include the roads in the area for upgrading under the Cocoa Sector Roads Rehabilitation Project.
Mr. Sadique said farmers find it difficult to cart their goods especially cocoa to Tepa and Kumasi as a result of bad roads.