ARMAJARO Ghana Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company, has secured 50,000 mosquito nets for distribution to cocoa farmers in the company’s operational areas.
The exercise is part of the company's efforts to reduce the incidence of malaria among cocoa farmers and their families.
The Operations Manager of Armajaro, Mr Victus Dzah, who disclosed this during the company's annual awards day at Bibiani, said the control of malaria was crucial in maintaining healthy lives for farmers.
At the ceremony, about 40 farmers and purchasing clerks received various items from the company for their efforts in improving purchases.
The overall best farmer award went to Nana Bonya II, while the best purchasing clerk award was won by Mr Anthony Gyinae.
Mr Dzah said the company, in conjunction with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and Tom's Confectionery Company of Denmark, had introduced a new technology for fermenting cocoa beans.
Known as “tray fermentation”, the technology, which involves the construction of trays to specific dimensions at CRIG for the fermentation of cocoa, helps in producing quality cocoa beans for the international market.
Instead of using the hand to turn the cocoa beans, the new technology allows the liquid in the beans to drip from the cocoa through the trays.
While the traditional system of cocoa fermentation takes six days, the new technology takes four days.
Mr Dzah said the weight of cocoa beans fermented through the new technology was heavier than those fermented through the traditional system.
“The fermentation process is thorough and it is going to project the nation's cocoa industry because our quality will be boosted,” Mr Dzah said.
He said the country's target of producing one million tonnes of cocoa this year was contingent on how farmers were supported through extension services.
The operations manager called for the reorganisation of the cocoa mass spraying exercise because of the abuses in the system.
He said Armajaro had increased its “top up” on the government's minimum price of cocoa from GH¢1 to GH¢2.50 per 32 kilogrammes of cocoa to serve as motivation for farmers to produce more.
In his address, the Managing Director of Armajaro, Mr Vincent McCleer, disclosed that the company was in the process of establishing farmers' shops in five cocoa growing areas, namely, Sefwi Wiawso, New Edubiase, Bibiani, Bonsu Nkwanta and Enchi.
The shops would make farming implements easily available to farmers and on concessionary prices, he said.
Mr McCleer stressed that the company would continue to make fertilisers available to farmers on credit but urged them to pay back so that the system would remain in operation.