The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has stressed the board will not embark on programmes that will lead to deforestation.
According to him, all the programmes being rolled out by the board were targeted at ensuring high yield.
He said he disagrees with the assertion that cocoa farming is a major source of deforestation. He believes as a forest crop, there is no way cocoa can cause deforestation.
Mr Aidoo was speaking at a stakeholder meeting on cocoa and forest initiative (CFI) held in Accra as part of the Prince of Wales’ visit to Accra.
The Prince of Wales Foundation is spearheading the cocoa and forest initiative, which was launched in London in March last year and facilitated by the world cocoa foundation.
It is an initiative, which seeks to undertake programmes that ensure that cocoa farming does not lead to the destruction of forest in cocoa growing countries.
Mr Aidoo identified low productivity by farmers as the major reason why farmers have been pushing to acquire more land to plant in order to improve their returns.
He noted that efforts are underway to reverse the worrying situation where farmers make about 450 kilos per hectare.
COCOBOD he revealed is currently undertaking productivity enhancement programmes such as hand pollination, mass pruning, early spraying and irrigation.
“If the farmer is able to get more yield from the farm, why would the farmer want to acquire new land not to even talk about forest reserves to plant cocoa,” the CEO noted.
The cocoa sector authority boss also indicated that with the rehabilitation programme ongoing, farmers are sticking with their diseased farms instead of abandoning their unproductive ones to acquire new lands.
He further indicated that COCOBOD has been supplying forest trees to cocoa farms to serve as a shade for the cocoa farms. This, he said, will go a long way to help boost carbon sequestration and also the cocoa farms.
Mr. Aidoo, however, cautioned industry players to pay attention to off-forest activities such as galamsey which is devastating the land as he puts it, when they are done, what will be left to destroy will be the forest reserve.