Graphic Online

Graphic Online 

Cocoa rehabilitation programme registers 43,000 farmers to boost cocoa production

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
The IFDC board of directors at the 43rd Annual Board Meeting in Accra
The IFDC board of directors at the 43rd Annual Board Meeting in Accra

The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP) which seeks to promote the sustainable productivity, profitability and competitiveness of the Ghanaian cocoa sector has so far registered over 43,000 cocoa farmers.

Out of the number, 31,350 have undergone intensive training as part of efforts to sustain the country’s cocoa productivity.

The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) is among those giving technical support to the programme which is coordinated by Solidaridad West Africa and funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN).

The Communications Specialist for IFDC, Mr Daniel Nana Sei Mensah, who made the disclosure to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the IFDC’s 43rd Annual Board of Directors Meeting in Accra, said  diseased and over-aged cocoa trees had been cut down and new seedlings planted, while old trees were being pruned.

Currently, about 17 per cent of cocoa trees, covering about 309,830.73 hectares are  affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), while about 23 per cent (411,086.41 ha) of the country’s cocoa tree stock is more than 30 years and economically unproductive.

“The programme has also enhanced farmers’ access to improved planting materials, quality fertilisers and safe pesticides,” Mr Mensah said.

Service centres

CORIP has established 20 cocoa Rural Service Centres (RSC) across the cocoa belt and targets helping improve cocoa yields in the country from 400 kilogrammes (kg) and 450kg to 1,000kg per hectare.

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) also launched a project recently to treat and rehabilitate about 10,000 hectares of diseased and over-aged cocoa farms in the Western, Northern and Eastern regions this year.

In total, 11 million trees are expected to be uprooted for replanting to be done under the COCOBOD’s initiative.

CORIP is, therefore, expected to complement COCOBOD’s efforts of replacing economically unproductive cocoa trees.

Other projects by IFDC

Mr Mensah said the IFDC was also implementing other programmes such as the USAID Feed the Future Ghana project with other local institutions.

GhanaVeg seeks to improve and sustain vegetable productivity in Ghana by pursuing new avenues of business through targeting high-end supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and exports. GhanaWASH also seeks to push the frontiers of innovation in the area of waste treatment and re-use in Ghana, while the 2SCALE project also seeks to improve on rural livelihoods and food security by accelerating inclusive business in agri-food industries through public-private partnerships.

Board of Directors Meeting

The 17-member Board of Directors of the IFDC held its 43rd Meeting in Ghana.

The annual meeting is used to review the board’s achievements in the past year and set new directions and goals for the coming year.

The Chief Executive Officer of the IFDC, Mr Scott Angle, speaking at the meeting said, “typically, our board meetings are held in the United States but this year we brought the meeting to Ghana so that the board members can see first-hand the work the IFDC supports here.”

He said the IFDC interventions had enabled farmers in developing countries such as Ghana to increase agricultural productivity and generate economic growth.

Mr Angle also noted that it was currently working with regional and national organisations on integrated soil fertility management, food security and productivity enhancement, agro-input and output market development and input policies at regional and national levels as well as value chain strengthening.