Over 16 percent of Cocoa farms to be cut down and replanted

More than 16 percent of the total hectres of cocoa farms cultivated in the country are to be cut down and replanted as the swollen shoot virus diseases infection heightens resulting in underproduction per tree.

Out of a total of 1.9 million hectares of cocoa farms surveyed, 315,800 hectares had been affected by the swollen shoot virus disease, according to data from the Ghana Cocoa Board. Out of this, the Western North Region alone had 214,500 hectares of affected farms.

To solve this, the COCOBOD has reviewed upwards, the initial treatment grant which is part of the compensation package for landowners and cocoa farmers who agree to cut and replant their Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus-affected cocoa farms under the on-going National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme. The initial treatment grant, which was pegged at GH¢552.96, has now been increased to GH¢1000.00 per hectare.

“Out of every five hectares of cocoa farm, two hectares are infected”, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo said this at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North Region recently.

Landowners and cocoa farmers are thereby advised to allow their infected trees to be cut down and replanted with high-yielding, early-bearing and disease-tolerant seedlings for increased and sustainable yield to forestall any decline in production output.

According to Mr Aidoo, the cost of cutting the infected cocoa trees and replanting will be borne by the government and COCOBOD.

In addition, plantain suckers and economic trees seedlings will be supplied at no cost to the affected farmers.

Mr Aidoo stressed that no chemical can treat an infected cocoa tree unless it is cut and replanted.

He said the youth in the farming communities have been engaged in the replanting exercise to create employment for them.

SOURCE: Adnan Adams Mohammed || NEWSGUIDEAFRICA

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