The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will begin a nationwide exercise to cut down millions of cocoa trees affected by the black pod and witches’ broom diseases.
The exercise is also in line with the policy of the government to increase cocoa yields and recapture the country’s position as the world’s leading cocoa producer.
According to COCOBOD, affected farmers would be compensated with annual stipends for three years to allow the new and high-yielding seedlings that would replace the destroyed trees to mature.
The Head of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division of COCOBOD, Mr Emmanuel Opoku, announced this at Tepa in the Ashanti Region during the launch of the 25th anniversary celebration of Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU).
The five-month-long celebration to be climaxed in August this year, is on the theme: “25 years of championing sustainable cocoa production in Ghana.”
A number of activities have been lined up to mark the Silver Jubilee, including an inter-university debate, the launch of young women in cocoa production at Kokofu in the Ashanti Region, launch of Kuapa Kokoo Ward at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and a health and nutrition fair.
Census and irrigation
Mr Opoku further announced plans for a cocoa farmers census to generate data and a register to facilitate biometric cards for farmers which would be used to transact all cocoa-related businesses.
The biometric registration will bring to an end cash payments to farmers for the sale of their produce.
The Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Limited, Mr Samuel Adimado, revealed that the company would introduce technology to track all fraudulent and corrupt officers who enriched themselves at the expense of cocoa farmers.
In that regard, the company was expected to automate its operational centres across the country.
Mr Adimado said Kuapa Kokoo would strengthen the purchasing power of its ‘recorder officials’ by providing them with funds while building the capacity of all district managers on the usage of electronic purchasing equipment.
“This will help management to closely monitor all activities and transactions at our various units across the country in real time,” he said.
The President of KKFU, Madam Fatima Ali, also indicated that the organisation was to leverage technology to promote tele-agric and tele-medicine to transform agriculture and improve the health of farmers in the country.
She said the organisation and its partners would provide smartphones to all the farmers to enable them to access tele-agric.