The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is to scale up its community extension services as it seeks to increase cocoa yield, following the donation of 23 new motorcycles to the Board.
Mondelez International, the world largest chocolate manufacturer donated 23 Yamaha motorcycles valued at GH₵276, 000 to the Cocobod to facilitate the execution of extension services in cocoa growing communities last week.
Dr. Francis Oppong, the Deputy Chief Executive, Agronomy and Quality Control of the Board said the Board is planning on securing additional 22 motor cycles later in the year for extension services in some new communities.
Dr Oppong commended Mondelez for the donation said the motor bikes would help the extensive officers reach out to remote cocoa growing areas to educate farmers on best practices to improve yield.
In addition, the bikes would also improve the performance of the extension officers and help them to track and make quick response to cocoa pest and disease outbreak and others like smuggling alert for necessary action.
He called on the management of Cocoa Health and Extension Division to endeavor to organise regular road safety training programmes for the extension agents to ensure efficiency.
Mr Jephthan Mensah, the Manager of Extension and Environment Mondelez International Cocoa Life programme, said the initiative is part of a multi-million private-public-partnership being implemented in Ghana to address sustainable cocoa production.
He said in partnership with agencies such as Cocobod, activities that address community development, promote livelihoods and cocoa productivity is being implemented in 209 communities across the cocoa regions of the country.
Besides, community mobilization has begun for an additional 130 communities.
Mr Mensah said key to the implementation of the package of interventions, is the Community Extension Agent, who imparts modern knowledge and skills to support cocoa farmers as well as playing the role an enabler for community members to lead their own development.
The Community Extension Agents are deployed in communities in which Cocoa Life is operational by the Cocoa Health and Extension Department of Cocobod under the partnership arrangement with Mondelez International.
Mondelez International provides the requisite tools including motor-cycles to enable the extension agents to undertake their training and outreach activities because of the poor terrain and environment in which they work.