A Programme under which the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is assisting farmers whose farms were destroyed by recent fires to replant, using fast-growing and disease resistant seedlings free of charge has begun.
About 10.2 million seedlings are to be made available to affected farmers for replanting.
Personnel from the COCOBOD have started measuring affected farms to know the exact number of seedlings that would be needed by each farmer, as well as the amount of ammonia fertiliser that would be required.
The Ashanti Regional Manager of COCOBOD, Mrs Faustine Asamany, announced this at a mini rally organised by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) for cocoa farmers and other stakeholders in the cocoa industry at Gyereso in the Nkawie Cocoa District.
Recently, hundreds of hectares of farms, especially cocoa farms in the Ashanti Region, were destroyed by bush fires.
Mrs Asamany noted that several factors, including climate change and galamsey activities, had contributed to the decline in Ghana’s cocoa production.
She reiterated the government’s commitment to motivate and assist cocoa farmers to increase production, while encouraging the youth to venture into cocoa farming.
Regarding the issue of unfair distribution of cocoa inputs to cocoa farmers, Mrs Asamany said such issues were now things of the past because after a careful study of the situation, COCOBOD had devised means to halt them.
“We have now inaugurated district task forces in cocoa districts to help in the distribution of cocoa seedlings, fertilisers and chemicals to the farmers. The task force, which includes the police, BNI and some cocoa farmers, is expected to ensure equitable distribution of farm inputs to farmers,” Mrs Asamany said.
The Nkawie District Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Kingsley Owusu Appiah, tasked the cocoa farmers to complement government’s effort in providing them with free seedlings and fertilisers by working hard to improve productivity.
The Chief of Gyereso, Nana Darko Kuffuor, raised concerns about the smuggling of cocoa beans to neighbouring Ivory Coast.
Nana Kuffuor, who is also a cocoa farmer, charged COCOBOD to implement periodic inspections to check the smuggling of cocoa beans.