THE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr Stephen Opuni, has hinted that the latest information from the cocoa health extension unit of the board has revealed that 40 per cent of all cocoa trees in the country were unproductive.
He explained that out of the 40 per cent, 23 per cent were cocoa trees which were between 30 and 70 years rendering them too old and unproductive while 17 per cent of the cocoa trees were infested with cocoa swollen shoot disease which also makes the trees unproductive.
Dr Opuni dropped the hint in an address read for him by Dr Francis Kofi Oppong, a Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at Cocobod during the closing ceremony of a four-day annual Olam Ghana Ltd conference of managers at Bunsu in the Eastern Region.
The conference brought together 250 workers, including senior managers, accountants, district managers, port managers and warehouse keepers from 58 cocoa districts across the country.
The annual conference, which had the theme: “Aiming for the top through sustainable value creation,” equipped the participants with skills in port operations, achievement of targets and crop limitation, sustainability business, e-z-wich cocoa project and preserving value in cocoa business in the country.
Dr Opuni explained that following the disclosure of the 40 per cent unproductive cocoa trees, Cocobod initiated a project to plant 50 million seedlings to replace the ageing and disease-infested cocoa trees in farms in the country.
The CEO said planting the 50 million hybrid cocoa trees within the next 10 years would cover about 400,000 hectares of cocoa to boost the country’s cocoa industry.
Dr Opuni commended Olam Ghana Ltd for its regular training of staff to ensure that they were on top of their businesses.
The LBC Head of Olam Ghana Cocoa Business, Mr Eric Asare Botwe, said despite the economic challenges that confronted the nation last year, the business was able to make some gains in its operations through prudent measures.
The Paramount Chief of Tafo, Osabarima Adusei Peasa, who chaired the conference, called on all stakeholders in the cocoa industry to contribute their quota towards the protection of the industry.