The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP) which seeks to replace diseased and over-aged cocoa trees in cocoa growing areas has so far registered 34,000 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 Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) is implementing the programme with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Dutch government.
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.
The CORIP is also expected to establish 20 cocoa Rural Service Centres (RSC) across the cocoa belt and also help 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.
Components of the project include the Commercial Vegetable Sector Development in Ghana (GhanaVeg), Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE), and the Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (Ghana Wash).
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 for the first time held its 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.