Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will soon start the process involved with giving over the management of rehabilitated cocoa homesteads to their farm owners.
This comes following a successful two-extended restoration of many sections of land of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD) contaminated farmers, under the COCOBOD, and Government supported Cocoa Rehabilitation Program.
The Chief Executive of COCOBOD Ghana, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, made this declaration when he inspected a 145.8-hector rehabilitated cocoa farm at Kumikrom in the Bekwai District of the Western Region, in Ghana.
The inspection was part of a two-day field and farmer- commitment visit through some cocoa communities in the Western North Region of Ghana. It was also a chance for the Chief Executive to check the advancement of some cocoa road projects in the Region.
During his interaction with the cocoa farmers at Kumikrom, he revealed that it was the ideal opportunity for early recipients of the rehabilitation program to assume control over the consideration of their farms.
He asked the farmers to adhere strictly to good agronomic and agroforestry practices to ensure that the farms can produce at their optimum capacity without adverse impacts on the environment.
The National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, which was officially launched by the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2020, was devised by COCOBOD to curtail the rapid spread of CSSVD on cocoa farms.
The process begins with the cutting and chemical treatment of cocoa trees on diseased farms. The farms are then replanted with disease-tolerant, early bearing, high yielding cocoa varieties.
During the two-year-long rehabilitation process, COCOBOD bears the cost of all the activities on the farm and the cost of labour. It also gives an amount of GH₵1000.00 per hector to each farmer who has an infected farm with is being rehabilitated. In the case of tenancy, both affected tenant farmers and their landowners are compensated.
A survey conducted in 2017 found that, more than half of the 509,295.53 hectares of cocoa farm in the Western North Region had been infected and nationally 315,886 hectares out of a total of 1.9 million hectares of cocoa farm had been lost to CSSVD.
Consequently, cocoa production in the Western North Region had dropped from over 330,000mt in 2010/2011 to 154,000mt.
Besides the primary goal of stopping the further spread of the disease and restoring the productivity of CSSVD devastated farms, the programme also safeguards the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, helps to ensure better food security through the planting of plantains, tubers and grains, during the first two years as the cocoa trees’ growth.
Countless jobs have also been created for the youth in cocoa communities, who provide labour and technical support to rehabilitate the cocoa farms.