The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has announced plans to undertake massive cocoa farm irrigation projects to revive the cocoa sector industry in the country.
But, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, the country’s regulator of the cocoa sector expressed the fear that uncontrolled illegal mining activities going on in cocoa growing districts in the country had the potential to thwart the project.
Interacting with Journalists at Abesim near Sunyani on the side-lines of his three-day field visit to some cocoa farms in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Mr Aidoo appealed to the media and all relevant institutions to intensify the campaign to fight galamsey.
Accompanied by some key and senior staff of the COCOBOD, the Chief Executive is on a 10-day working visits to Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Northern Regions to interact with cocoa, cashew and coffee farmers and identify challenges facing particularly the cocoa sector.
Mr Aidoo expressed regret that illegal mining activities had affected and were destroying many river bodies in cocoa growing communities, thus, affecting the mass cocoa spraying exercise.
He noted that cocoa farmers in parts of the country hired tricycles to transport water into their cocoa farms for the mass cocoa spraying exercises because rivers bodies were either polluted or dried up.
Mr Aidoo announced that the COCOBOD was securing $600 million dollars credit facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to invest into the cocoa sector to make it lucrative.
The funds, he added would be ready by the end of the year and would be used for rehabilitating neglected and over-aged farms, irrigation projects, expand warehouse capacity, replant diseased trees and increase domestic processing.
Under the rehabilitation of cocoa farms, more than 10,000 hectares of farms would be affected, Mr Aidoo added.