Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in partnership with “Light A Village”, a non-governmental organisation, has distributed complete sets of solar lamps to 60 cocoa farm households at Sikanti in the Western South Region.
Donating the solar lamps to the beneficiaries at Sikanti in the Asankragua District of the Western South, Mr. Michael Owusu-Manu, the Deputy Director in-charge of Social Science and Statistics Unit at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (COCOBOD) said; the donation formed part of a larger education support programme by the two organisations.
Mr. Owusu-Manu reiterated that the exercise is aimed at providing safe and environmentally friendly solar lamps to lighting up cocoa and coffee communities that are not connected to the national grid.
COCOBOD and its partners will make efforts to support schools and communities without light. This would aid in the educational aspirations of wards of farmers in remote areas, he opined.
The President and Founder of Light A Village, Dr James Quartey said his organization was delighted to organize resources to support some communities without electricity in Ghana to access light from the donated solar lamps.
A total of over 170 solar lamps has been distributed across three regions namely Eastern, Volta and Western in the country. He guaranteed a constant partnership with COCOBOD by providing cocoa and coffee communities with solar lamps for an easy access to studies at night.
The Deputy Regional Manager (CHED), Dunkwa, Mr. Samuel Osei, used the platform to appeal passionately to cocoa farmers at Sikanti to resist the temptation of either giving up their cocoa farmlands to farm other cash crops or for illegal small-scale mining, popularly called ‘galamsey’.
He said even though the benefits of diversifying were enticing in the short-term, they were not sustainable when compared to cocoa farming in the long run.
He assured cocoa farmers of better days ahead for the sector, explaining that the government held cocoa farmers in high esteem and was committed to improving their livelihoods.
He told the cocoa farmers at Sikanti that COCOBOD will once again supply cocoa farmers with free approved liquid fertilizers to boost their yield per acreage.
Mr. Vincent Odzawo, the Western South Deputy Regional Manager, QCC, advised the people in the beneficiary community especially the cocoa farmers to make good use of the solar lamps and work diligently to safeguard the Cocoa Industry by abiding strictly to the pre and post-harvest practices given by the extension officers in their district. He added; doing so will not only boost their yield but will enable Ghana to continuously produce high quality cocoa beans.
Mr. Owusu-Manu a lead member of the ‘Cocobod Child Education Program’ also offered bars of chocolates to the school children emphasizing its nutritional health benefits. He further stressed on the need for Ghanaians especially children to eat at least one bar of Ghana-made chocolate daily as it has the tendency to boost intellectual ability of humans, particularly children in their formative years while providing the highest source of anti-oxidants for the human body.
Mr Lloyd Brobbey Adasi, a Principal Public Affairs Officer at CRIG emphasized the need for the Cocoa farmers to make good use of the by-products technology developed by the New Products Development Unit , of the institute to serve as a source of additional revenue to support their sales of quality cocoa beans. He educated them on the developed wide range of products such as cocoa wine, gin, brandy, vinegar from the cocoa pulp juice (sweatings), cocoa butter soaps from the discarded beans, among others.