Rehabilitation of cocoa farms underway — COCOBOD
The government has started large-scale rehabilitation of cocoa farms affected by the swollen shoot disease in 2020 to reverse the declining cocoa production in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said so far most of the rehabilitated farms were producing high yields and gave an assurance that COCOBOD would work to sustain productivity.
“It is good that all the farms have been recovered, that is very positive.
In fact we were all happy when we visited some of the farms and compared their current state to previous conditions,” he said.
Mr Aidoo was addressing the media in Sunyani in the Bono Region last Sunday after his four-day working visit to some cocoa farms in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.
Mr Aidoo said that although he received quarterly reports from extension officers and heads of departments, it was significant he visited the farmers to authenticate the findings of the reports.
The CEO also said that he and his team observed some unhealthy practices some farmers were engaged in and would, therefore, take measures to correct them.
Mr Aidoo, however, described competition between the cocoa and cashew industries in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions as encouraging.
He said previously, some cocoa farmers converted their farms into cashew farms but he observed that some cashew farmers were now cutting down their cashew to plant cocoa.
Mr Aidoo said the new cocoa price announced at the opening of the 2023/2024 cocoa season in September 2023, coupled with the low cost of maintaining cocoa farms had boosted the interest of farmers to venture into the sector.
“Less effort is demanded to cultivate cocoa than cashew, cocoa has ready reliable market for farmers annually than cashew,” he added.
The chief executive further said that the country stood to gain from the $120 billion generated annually by the industry worldwide if the country processed more of its cocoa into finished products.
He said currently, the country earned about $20 billion out of the $120 billion due to the export of raw cocoa beans.
Mr Aidoo said the proportionality was not the best for the country and, therefore, urged the private sector to consider investing in the processing industry.
He said artisanal processing of cocoa was a way to increase cocoa processing in the country.
The chief executive said it was the vision of the government to increase processing to about 50 per cent.
Mr Aidoo, however, advised cocoa farmers to desist from spraying their farms with weedicides because of its negative effects.