COCOBOD, has increased its scholarships to the children of cocoa farmers in various public Senior High Schools (SHS) from 3,500 to 5,000 students annually.
The increment was to enable more children of cocoa farmers to have access to secondary education, and it takes effect from the 2014/15 academic year.
The Deputy Administrative Manager of COCOBOD Scholarship Scheme, Joe Baah, announced this at a cocoa farmer’s forum in the Osino District on cocoa health and good farming methods at Akyem Sekyere near Anyinam.
He said, forms for the scholarship had been sent to the Quality Control Division offices for collection by cocoa farmers on behalf of their wards.
The scholarship forms, had also been sent to public Senior High Schools. Eric Owusu, of the Public Affairs Department of COCOBOD said, government has released $150 million for the rehabilitation of roads in cocoa producing areas to enable cocoa farmers to get their cocoa to the purchasing centers.
50 million high yielding cocoa seedlings, will be distributed free to cocoa farmers for planting this farming season and urged the farmers to take advantage of it to expand their cocoa farms to increase yields.
The Eastern Regional Manager of COCOBOD, Samuel Gyimah Gyemfi said, large quantities of liquefied and solid fertilizers, would be distributed freely to cocoa farmers this farming season and urged the farmers to register with their various farming groups for proper identification and distribution of the seedlings and fertilizer.
Mr Gyemfi, said the reduction in the country’s cocoa production was due to aging cocoa trees and infertility of the soil and advised farmers to cut down their cocoa trees which are over 38 years and replant them with hybrid seedlings and apply the required fertilizer to increase productivity.
John Owusu, a farmer, on behalf of the District Chief Cocoa Farmer, appealed to government to stop releasing cocoa farms to coal mining companies.
The District Cocoa Officer, Emmanuel Graham, advised cocoa farmers to adopt improved methods of farming and plant high yielding cocoa seedlings to increase their yields.