Nana Kwesi Fori, the Central Regional Chief Farmer, has encouraged cocoa farmers to adopt integrated farming technologies through the Farmers Business Training School (FBTS) model to improve yields.
He said the FBTS is the current way to improve the productivity of cocoa farmers and other smallholder crop farmers to achieve nutritional security.
The FBTS, an initiative by the Ghana COCOBOD, provides business skills and knowledge to farmers in cocoa-growing communities to enable them to manage their farms as business ventures.
The initiative has become important to cocoa farmers many of whom have taken a keen interest and actively participating in the training programmes, which also seek to train them on issues such as basic business skills and principles of record keeping, accounting, and financial best practices in profit calculations and expenditure planning.
Also, it has created a platform for the farmers to interact with extension and technical officers to share ideas on new techniques and agronomic practices to improve farm management to increase crop yield and income, Nana Fori noted.
“The FBTS enables farmers to understand that they are managers of their businesses and that, key business applications such as internal rate of returns, benefits-costs ratios, profit calculations, and expenditure planning among others,” Mr Fori said in an interview.
“This will help them to apply these principles to utilize their resources well and make rightful choices for their investments,” he explained.
Nana Fori encouraged farmers to see their farms as businesses and always seek technical advice from extension officers, especially in the areas of pollination, pruning, and spraying of the cocoa trees in their farms.
He also urged them to join farmer groups and cooperatives to enable them to access financial support for their farming activities.
Nana Fori also encouraged unemployed youth to embark on cocoa farming, emphasizing the production of the crop is no more the preserve of the aged.
He called on cocoa farmers to take advantage of the flexible fertilizer payment system to properly maintain their farms to improve their yields and to adopt the best and most modern agronomic practices.
“It is better to have a small but well-maintained farm than a big farm which is not well-maintained,” he stated.
By Isaac Arkoh, GNA