Sustaining the mass Cocoa spraying program in the Ahafo Ano North District in Ashanti

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Cocoa has historically been a key economic sector and a major source of export and fiscal earnings to the Ghanaian economy (Bulir 1998; McKay and Arytee 2005). Cultivation of cocoa in large quantity started in 1900 in the country and by the mid 1960s, Ghana was the world’s leading producer of cocoa producing 560,000 metric tons. Cocoa is by far Ghana’s most important crop. It dominates the agricultural sector and is a major source of income for approximately 800,000 farmers and many others engaged in trade, transportation, and processing of cocoa. Due to the massive contribution of the cocoa sub-sector to the socio-economic development of the country, successive governments have formulated various policies to increase the production level of the sub-sector. The cocoa mass spraying programme is the current cocoa programme that was started in 2001 to provide free spraying of cocoa farms for the farmers in order to control capsids and black pod disease. It was on this basis that this study was undertaken to assess various ways that the cocoa mass spraying exercise can be sustained to benefit present and future generations in the Ahafo-Ano North District. The survey research approach was used in undertaking this study. This was adopted to help acquire knowledge on the current situation with regards to the phenomenon under consideration. focusing on a scientifically selected sample while seeking to make generalisations that concern all cocoa farmers on the programme. Both primary and secondary data were collected and used for the study. Respondents were drawn from the farmers who are the beneficiaries of the programme, the spraying gangs, the District office of the Cocoa Diseases and Pesticides Committee, the District Health Directorate and COCOBOD, and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) for the purposes of this study. It was found from the study that the programme is enjoying high levels of acceptance from the farmers in the District. Again, it has created employment for 1232 people on part-time basis, reduced capsid infestation and black pod infection by 50percent and 65percent respectively and as such contribute positively to the increasing output being experienced in the district. However there are certain challenges which threaten the continuity of the programme in the District. For instance, the supply of farming inputs for the programme was found to be woefully inadequate. Again farmers method of disposing of chemical containers and methods of spraying were not in accordance of the training guidelines. This is because v the education on the safe methods of disposal and wearing of protective clothing was not going down well with the people. As a result, the spraying activity was found to have negative impact on the respondents. Some of them have developed adverse health conditions such as rashes, cold and headaches. It was therefore recommended that there should be intensification of the education on the cocoa mass spraying exercise to inculcate into the respondents the importance of adhering to the method of proper disposal of waste containers. Again the modalities for the distribution of chemicals used in the cocoa mass spraying should be changed to ensure that the distribution is fair.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING. 2012