The Deputy Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control (A&QC), Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh has expressed worry over the low cooperation cocoa farmers give to Cocoa extension officers in their quest to facilitate the rehabilitation of diseased and overaged farms.
According to him, the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD) and moribund cocoa farms constitute about 40% of Ghana’s cocoa trees tock and these have serious repercussions on productivity per hectare.
Dr. Agyemang Dwomoh was interacting with some cocoa farmers at Kumikrom, a farming community in Sefwi Bekwai District of the Western North Region. Dr. Dwomoh explained that the production yield in the Western Region, which hitherto accounted for 30% of Ghana’s total production output, had lost this enviable position due to the devastating effect CSSVD.
“The Western North Region which contributed about 330,000 metric tonnes is now producing 140,000 tonnes due to the rampant nature of the CSSVD virus, this is not good for the region”, he added.
According to Dr. Dwomoh, COCOBOD was implementing the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme as part of efforts to address the menace. The programme, he said, would help increase productivity as well as improve livelihoods of farmers.
“I want to implore you, our cherished farmers, to cooperate with COCOBOD to facilitate smooth implementation of all our Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) which include the Rehabilitation Programme”, he said.
Dr. Dwomoh also cautioned farmers to desist from the use of weedicides on cocoa farms since such practices affect the quality of Ghana’s cocoa beans.
He assured the farmers that plans were underway to procure motorized slashers to weed and prune their cocoa farms. He also urged the farmers to form farmer co-operatives for easy identification and access to inputs, funds and other benefits.
The farmers commended COCOBOD for the initiative and pledged their commitment to support the programmes.
Dr. Dwomoh and his team visited the Western North and Bono Ahafo Regions to ascertain the state of the CSSVD control in the regions.