The CAA’s goal is to conserve the environment while also increasing the yield per acre on farms. We train new members to increase their yield by three to five times in their first four years, using a range of Good Agricultural Practices that can take on a variety of forms.
Our extension officers pay regular visits to our members to provide the necessary training on farm maintenance and to check whether they are implementing the GAPs properly.
We have designed an Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) for our members’ farms that outlines procedures to protect farmers, cocoa trees, and consumers from pests and pesticide hazards. The plan complies with local and international standards and includes monitoring to ensure that pest management is prioritised over the application of crop protection products. We aim for the lowest levels of toxicity in flora, fauna, and human populations, so our members are only allowed to use approved crop protection products recommended by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), when absolutely necessary.
Crop protection products
We provide training sessions and demonstrations on the proper use of fertilisers, pesticides, and fungicides and urge our members to only use inputs provided by us to ensure the best possible quality. These products are designed for by-the-acre usage, ensuring minimal use for maximum yield and effective pest management. This lets us control and avoid spills, and lessen the use of dangerous products that have to be stored for longer periods of time.
Careful regulations are put in place with regard to the storage of crop protection products, which are to be kept out of reach of children and animals in a designated, separate and lockable room. The hazardous nature of the storage room must also be clearly indicated with signs. Our members are responsible for ensuring that empty crop protection containers are triple-rinsed and pierced. After that, they are brought to the group storage areas and secured in a container. Safe destruction is of critical importance in order to prevent reuse.
Natural methods for pest management are emphasised. We aim to use fewer crop protection products while still assuring higher yields. Techniques such as using cutlasses to remove mistletoe, plugging stem borer holes, using shade trees to encourage ant populations who eat capsids, and burying infested pods all contribute by mitigating pest and disease problems and reducing farmers’ dependency on crop protection products.
Farm Operations Calendar
We designed a standardised Farm Operations Calendar to ensure optimum yields through best farm management practices. Our extension officers also advise farmers on the best times for weeding, fertiliser broadcasting, fungicide and pesticide spraying, pruning, and harvesting. This is particularly important in case of irregular weather patterns. Our members are taught the value of regular weeding and pruning and discouraged from using herbicides on farms. Lastly, our members are trained to only use recommended planting material.