Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has disclosed that his outfit has mapped out a payment plan to compensate all cocoa farmers who will cut down their unproductive cocoa trees.
“We will pay both farm owners and farmers until the new trees start to bear fruits,” he disclosed.
According to him, there were a lot of cocoa trees which were either too old or affected by swollen shoot and black pod diseases which had contributed to the current low production levels.
“After cutting down the affected trees, COCOBOD will provide improved seedlings free of charge in order to achieve our targets,” he explained.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo further disclosed that in a bid to improve on production level, his outfit had started a hand pollination exercise nationwide.
He made this disclosure when COCOBOD, led by its Board Chairman, Hackman Kwame Owusu Agyeman, paid a courtesy call on the Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, at his palace.
The board and management of COCOBOD had pitched camp at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Tafo on a retreat to strategise towards uplifting COCOBOD to the desired pedestal.
According to the CEO, thirty thousand (30,000) cocoa farmers from across the nation are to be introduced to the hand pollination technique to enable them to boost crop yield and returns.
Through artificial pollination, per hectare yield of the crop, could hit two tonnes from the current average of 400 kilograms the farmers are getting.
That exercise, he said, was part of the drive to significantly raise the nation’s cocoa production level to the targeted 1 million tonnes.
He, however, said for a start 7,000 farmers would be trained.
The pollination, combined with fertiliser application and the cocoa farms irrigation project was likely to restore cocoa production – the mainstay of the economy to one million tonnes or more.
Mr. Aidoo indicated that a hand pollinated cocoa tree could yield between 100 and 500 pods.
The farmer could pollinate about 10 or 12 trees each day.
He noted that increased production could make up for the fall in the international market price of the commodity.
Business Desk Report