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COCOA FARMERS DEMAND PROTECTIVE GEARS

Cocoa farmers in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region on Tuesday called on stakeholders to provide them with adequate protective clothing to help in the mass spraying exercise.

According to the farmers, for close to two years now the supply of these protective clothing such as "nose mask, hat, overall, wellington boots and gloves" had not been forthcoming and thus, made their work difficult.

Mr. Matthew Blay, Secretary of Ebowu/Invuma Co-operative Cocoa Farmers Society Limited, told the Ghana News Agency in Takoradi that some of the farmers now put on helmets to spray instead of the approved hat.

He said the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund was helping in getting the Ministry of Food and Agriculture(MOFA), COCOBOD and the district assembly to establish an efficient and effective input delivery system for cocoa farmers in the district.

Farmers want safety during the mass cocoa spraying exercise

According to him, the youth who did most of the spraying activities were now abandoning farming due to the unavailability of protective clothing; adding that they were afraid of the hazardous nature of the chemicals used in spraying and its health problems.

Mr Blay advocated for the regular supply of these protective gears to speed up work.

Mr Charles Ekpale, Ellembelle District Director of MOFA said the ministry was in short supply of the protective clothing.

He said "Manufacturing of these items in the country takes some time" and urged cocoa farmers to give the ministry some time to get things in order.

Mr Ekpale also pleaded with the Ministry of Health to provide detoxification machines at hospitals in the cocoa growing areas to enable cocoa farmers to be examined yearly.

Source: GNA

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