Assessment of farmers response to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training by (CHED) and its effect on the quality of cocoa beans in Nkawie Cocoa District

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JULY, 2016
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The adoption of good agricultural Practices (GAP) in cocoa farming is a means for achieving high productivity. The length of time that a cocoa farm remains productive and financially viable is determined by the application of good agricultural practices. Growing consumer concerns about food safety have put pressure on agricultural commodity markets to pay more attention to produce quality. Notwithstanding the good reputation of Ghana’s cocoa and the efforts to maintain quality, there are indications that quality can be compromised. This study was therefore carried out to assess farmers response to GAP training by Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) and its effect on the quality of cocoa beans produced in Nkawie cocoa district. Primary data was sourced from field survey through the administration of well-structured questionnaires to (50) cocoa farmers (25 untrained farmers and 25 trained by Cocoa Health and Extension Division. Each community had ten (10) farmers, five for trained and the other five untrained. Pesticide residue analysis and cut test was also carried out on samples of cocoa sourced from the two farmer groups. The result on the field survey indicates that about (24%) of the CHED trained farmers do not raise cocoa seedlings before planting and an appreciable number also do not line and peg before transplanting seedlings. However, about (80%) of the trained farmer remove mistletoes whiles about (82%) stored their agro-chemicals in safe places before and after use. Few (32%) of the trained farmers did bean separation after drying of cocoa beans. However, majority (88%) of them removed foreign materials from the beans during drying. The major challenges facing the farmer with regards to the CHED training programme were lack of extension teaching materials (50%) and language barrier (37.50%).The cocoa samples produced from the two farmer groups were all of high quality, however those from the CHED farmers were classified as grade I and the untrained farmers grade II based on the cut test. Chlorpyrifos was the only active ingredient detected from all the cocoa sourced from the two farmer group however, the concentration from both samples were within the EU permissible maximum residual level of 0.10 mg/kg for chlorpyrifos.
A thesis submitted to The School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Mphil Postharvest Technology).