COCOBOD is making frantic efforts to restore Ghana to her former glory of leading producer of cocoa in the world as it intensifies surveillance in all cocoa growing areas in the country.
Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang-Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD, made this projection to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the third day of Western South Region field tour of Cocoa farms at Number Six in the Samreboi District.
He said, as part of the move, they had embarked on rehabilitation of all cocoa farms in the country.
Ghana is the world’s second producer of cocoa after La Cote D’Ivoire.
Dr.Agyemang-Dwomah said the Western South Region used to produce one-third of the total cocoa production in the country, but now the Region was producing less.
He attributed the cause to the swollen shoot disease, which is devastating trees in the affected areas.
Dr Agyemang Dwomoh hinted that currently, COCOBOD was securing a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to revamp the affected areas and it had started the rehabilitation exercise in Western South and Eastern Regions.
He also bemoaned that for some time now, the number of extension officers kept dwindling.
The Executive Director, Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), at COCOBOD, Dr.Emmanuel Nii Tackie-Otoo also told the GNA that as part of the move, it was also embarking on the block and back to back treatment.
Under the modality, he indicated that farmers were compensated depending on their farm size and in some cases, land owners are also compensated.
He said COCOBOD would ensure that all diseased trees are removed with chainsaw and arboricide are cut to the surface to kill the stumps.
He explained that temporal shade crops such as plantain and other economic shade trees are planted and maintained for a period of one year before hybrid seedlings are transplanted.
Dr. Nii Tackie-Otoo said COCOBOD would maintain the rehabilitated farms for two years before handing over the farms to the farmers.
He advised Cocoa farmers to refrain from using unapproved chemicals to fertilize their farms and adopt sound cultural practices to produce quality Cocoa to meet international standards.
He said Ghana continues to remain the number one on the world market in terms of best standards and appealed to cocoa farmers to maintain that enviable record.