TUE 16/03/2021- To achieve the objective of 1million tonnes /yr. (Equiv. 16million bags/yr.), Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has embarked on training of Spraying Gang Supervisors across the seven Cocoa Regions of Ghana. The team was at Jasikan today 15/03/2021, together with Regional and District Officers of COCOBOD in Volta Region to train all Gang Supervisors in Hohoe-Kpeve Cocoa District; Jasikan Cocoa District and Papase Cocoa District at Jasikan.
The Team of facilitators included Dr. Ishmael Amoako Atta, Plant Pathologist, CRIG, Mr. Jerome Dogbatey, Soil Scientist, CRIG, Dr. Godfred Awudzi, Entomologist, CRIG, Mr. Linus Fiakeye, Deputy Regional Manager, Volta Region, Mr. Boaz Ofosu Asiedu, PTO, Volta Region, Mr. Noel Ayibor, Regional Extension Coordinator, Volta Region, Mr. Richard Nyahe, DCO, Jasikan Cocoa District, Mr. Emmanuel Ofori, DCO, Hohoe-KpeveCocoa District, Mr. Innocent Aryeeson, DCO, Papase Cocoa District, Mr. Samuel Ayimadu, Field Officer, CRIG, Mr. Kwesi Afful, Field Officer, CRIG and selected CHED Field Officers from the three districts of the Region.
The Deputy Regional Manager, Mr. Linus Fiakeye welcomed the Spraying Gang Supervisors from the three districts in the Region for showing up when called upon. He entreated them to pay rapt attention to the various facilitators during the training to achieve the desirable targets earmarked for the training.
Dr. Ismael Amoako Atta took his time, using interactive discussion , extensively treated in details Black pod disease of cocoa.He stated the symptoms, and identification and Conditions favorable for Black Pod include such as wet, humid and damp environment, Close spacing, heavy over shade, infrequent weeding.
Control of Black Pod Disease may be through Cultural Control- aimed at increasing aeration and reducing humidity or Chemical Control- aimed at coating the pod surface with fungicide to stop germination/ growth of fungus.
He added that it is import for Spraying Gang to put up proper dress for spraying. Demonstration of correct dressing for spraying was done. PPES such as Ear protector, Eye protector/ goggles, Overall coat, Hand gloves, Hat, Wellington boot
In addition, Dr. Amoako Atta added that precautions must be taken when spraying. This include: not use expired chemical, the fungicide is poisonous, do not EAT,DRINK, SMOKE when spraying, always wear recommended PPES when spraying, make sure to wash your uniform each day after spraying, do not empty or wash fungicide into or near streams. Dispose them onto husk damp at the breaking point. This will help destroying fungi at breaking points, Wash the machine thoroughly after each day’s work
Dr. Amoako Atta cautioned that COCOBOD has completely banned the use of any form of herbicides/weedicides in Cocoa Farming because the chemicals: It destroys important soil organisms like snails, mushrooms, beneficial soil microorganisms; The wind may blow the chemicals onto trunks of the cocoa and this affect flower initiation and flower abortion; Residual chemical 24D can be absorbed by the cocoa which eventually can be found in the beans of the pods. This can be lethal if consumed
Mr. Jerome Dogbatey presented his message on fertilizer and its usage for efficient productivity. He stated that there are two main types of fertilizers for use in cocoa farming: Granular Fertilizer and Liquid Fertilizer. Before applying fertilizer, make sure the farm is well weeded, pruned and sprayed before applying the fertilizer, Buy only CRIG approved fertilizer for cocoa, remove mistletoe completely before applying liquid fertilizer. Refusal to do this will mean, providing the mistletoes additional nutrient to use to grow rapid and destroy .Make sure you use the right dosage of the liquid fertilizer per knapsack.
Dr. Godfred Awudzi elaborated on three main insects that have huge impacts on productivity of cocoa. They are Mirids (Capsids) or Akate; Bathycoelia thalassina (Atee) and Coreid bug.
He stated that control of insects is done mainly through Cultural method- carrying out recommended cultural practices or Chemical Control –which is currently the most reliable measure for managing insect pests on cocoa in Ghana. Spray CRIG approved chemical in March/April and September/October with regular monitoring. Use either the roll method of spraying (March/April) or Alternating method of spraying (September/October). All member of the spraying gang should work with “measuring cup”, to ensure right dosage is used in their work. The right PPES must be worn always.
The Spraying Supervisors thanked CRIG and COCOBOD for the knowledge imparted to them. They always appealed to COCOBOD to add additional PPE (overall) as well as upward adjustment of their allowances to motivate and boost their morale.
The DTM, Mr. Linus Fiakeye assured the spraying Gang Supervisors to be assured COCOBOD will always work in their interest and they should pray for the cocoa industry.