President Nana Addo Akufo Addo has relaunched the Cocoa Disease and Pest Control Programme (CODAPEC) to help boost cocoa production in the country.
The relaunch was done at one of COCOBOD's demonstration farms in Dansokrom, in the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western Region as part of President’s three-day visit to the Western Region.
The President mentioned that government is committed to improving cocoa production in the country - I am optimistic that production levels of cocoa will be increased from 800,000 tonnes to 1.5m tonnes this crop season.
He indicated that the cocoa mass spraying exercise, subsidized fertilizers, artificial pollination and other mechanism have been put in place to ensure development in the sector.
Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD also mentioned that government has procured 20,000 solo mist blowers and knapsack sprayers to complement existing ones for the cocoa mass spraying exercise.
In addition, he said some pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers and other agrochemicals have been procured in respect to the free Cocoa mass spraying exercise.
He explained that the subsidized cocoa fertilizers is expected to improve yields for the crop season and bemoaned the state at which government subsidized fertilizers are being smuggled out of the country.
"Only 20% of governments fertilizers are being applied on cocoa farms in the country –this, impacts negatively on cocoa production in the country but we are doing our best to curb this problem" he added.
Also, he added that 10,000 people have also been trained to artificially pollinate cocoa plants. "We [COCOBOD] want to train 30,000 people under this project”.
He further explained that with the artificial pollination a cocoa tree has a potential to produce 200 pods in the main crop season, he elaborated".
He announced that a cocoa irrigation project will soon be piloted in the country to improve yield during the light season.
He said government intends to adopt environmental friendly techniques to cocoa production -weedicides will no longer be used to clear weeds in cocoa farms in the country.
He indicated that some machinery has been procured by the government to clear weeds and prune cocoa trees.