Mr Samuel Gyimah Gyamfi, the Eastern Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Cocobod, said his outfit would facilitate the creation of a farmer cooperative group in each cocoa operational area.
He said this will expose small holder farmers to limitless opportunities that will make their farming businesses more profitable. Mr Gyamfi said the coming together of the farmers to form groups makes it easier to identify and assist farmers with interventions and other modern technologies.
Mr Gyamfi said this when he addressed a Cooperative Business School Network forum for cocoa farmers at Koforidua. The forum was held under the theme: “Empowering small holder farmers through cooperative formation”.
It was held to foster and improve networking among trained farmers and other stakeholders from the Eastern, Central and the Volta regions. He said more than 1,800 farmer groups have been formed across the 10 districts within the region.
He called for the introduction of innovative technologies and programmes to farmers to encourage participation within their existing farmer groups and also focus on areas where extension services have been low. Mr William Mintah Wiafe, the Technical Manager in-charge of Cocoa Extension at COCOBOD, said cooperative in the cocoa industry keeps growing and that in a competitive world, things must be well organised to ensure success.
He said forming cooperatives becomes essential when farmers have an interest for a project and are able to rally around it for many years to come. Mr Wiafe said COCOBOD will always facilitate the process for the farmers because, there are over1.2 million farmers in the cocoa industry and many are yet to be reached.
He said the outfit was also using other means such as showing of documentary on new technologies to farmers in farming communities as a form of reaching out to more farmers. Mr Wiafe urged the cocoa farmers to actively participate in the farmer groups in their various communities.
Ms Anna Tschanz, the Regional Programme Advisor for GIZ, said their economic power as farmers depend on their ability to have a successful business and to earn enough income to provide for their families. She said the focus of Cooperate Business School was to provide members of farmers group with needed services to become more successful.