More than 50 million seedlings are to be distributed this year to cocoa farmers to boost the production and harvest of cocoa.
Out of the figure, cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region would receive 5,252,628 seedlings which are to be distributed by May this year.
The Eastern Regional Manager of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Samuel Gyimah, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic after a forum organised by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division at Adawso in the Eastern Region.
The Adawso district office of COCOBOD is making available 830,185 seedlings to cocoa farmers in Adawso alone.
The rationale behind the distribution of the seedlings was to replace old cocoa trees which now had reduced yields, Mr Gyamfi explained.
Last year, Mr Gyamfi said, the COCOBOD was able to reach out to about 3,000 cocoa farmers in the Eastern Region but that figure could change this year.
Mr Gyamfi urged the farmers to approach cocoa farming as a business and seek professional help from extension officers posted to the various districts to grow their farms and improve their yields.
He said the government was providing fertiliser and continuing with the mass spraying exercises and advised the farmers to be available on their farms during the spraying to ensure that the right thing was done.
Mr Gyamfi stressed that it was also important for the farmers to always clear weeds in and around their cocoa plants in order to make the spraying exercises meaningful and beneficial.
The Eastern Regional Quality Control Assistant, Mr Henry Akorli, said allowing the cocoa pod to over-ripe reduced the quality and, consequently, the value of the cocoa beans.