The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is to undertake massive rehabilitation of cocoa farms in the country. In view of this, all cocoa trees over 30 years on about 50,000 hectares of cocoa farms would be destroyed and replanted at no cost to the farmer.
In addition, owners of those farms will be compensated.
Currently, 80 per cent of cocoa farms affected by viruses are located in the Eastern Region and the Western-North of the country.
The acting Executive Director of the Cocoa Health Extension Division of COCOBOD, Mr Emmanuel Opoku, announced this during a farmer’s rally in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
He said the exercise would start this year in the Eastern and Western regions as part of the government’s efforts at increasing cocoa production in the country.
According to Mr Opoku, 4000 hectares of cocoa farms in the Eastern Region would benefit from the scheme, with 1,500 seedlings planted on each hectare.
The director said the rehabilitated farms would be interspersed with plantain and tree seedlings, adding that an irrigation scheme would also be introduced on a pilot basis to boost production.
He, therefore, urged farmers whose farms were near river bodies to help protect them.
He further stated that from next year, the government would introduce input subsidy on fertiliser and insecticides for cocoa farms and added that cocoa farmers would also be biometrically registered to ensure easy identification.
Mr Opoku said also that an artificial cocoa pollination exercise would be undertaken on a pilot basis across cocoa growing communities.
He said a number of extension officers were also being trained to identify young people in beneficiary communities to undertake the pollination exercise.
The Eastern Regional minister, Mr Eric Kwame Daffour, appealed to farmers not to sell their cocoa farms to illegal miners.
He drew the farmers’ attention to the significance of cocoa to Ghana’s economy for which reason the government was committed to boosting its production.