The regulator of cocoa sector in Ghana, Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), is to undertake a rehabilitation of cocoa farms in the country.
According to Cocobod, all cocoa trees over 30 years on about 50,000 hectares of cocoa farms would be destroyed and replanted at no cost to the farmer while owners of those farms will be compensated.
The acting Executive Director of the Cocoa Health Extension Division of COCOBOD, Emmanuel Opoku, in an interview with thebftonline.com said the exercise is part of the government’s efforts at increasing cocoa production in the country.
Data from the regulator shows that currently, 80 per cent of cocoa farms affected by viruses are located in the Eastern Region and the Western region of the country.
According to Mr, Opoku, 4,000 hectares of cocoa farms in the Eastern Region would benefit from the scheme, with 1,500 seedlings planted on each hectare while the rehabilitated farms would be interspersed with plantain and tree seedlings, adding that an irrigation scheme would also be introduced on a pilot basis to boost production.
He, therefore, urged farmers whose farms are near river bodies to help protect them from being destroyed by illegal miners.
He further stated that from 2018, the government would introduce input subsidy on fertiliser and insecticides for cocoa farms and added that cocoa farmers would also be biometrically registered to ensure easy identification.
Mr. Opoku said also that an artificial cocoa pollination exercise would be undertaken on a pilot basis across cocoa growing communities while a number of extension officers are also being trained to identify young people in beneficiary communities to undertake the pollination exercise.