The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has launched a project to treat and rehabilitate some 10,000 hectares of diseased and overage cocoa farms in the Western North and Eastern regions this year.
The project will involve the removal of 11 million trees for replanting.
Currently, about 17%of cocoa area, that is about 309,830.73 hectares, surveyed is affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) while about 23 per cent (411,086.41 ha) of the country’s cocoa tree stock is more than 30 years and economically unproductive.
Executive Director Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Emmanuel Opoku, who disclosed this at a workshop on smart cocoa financing said the Board would commence another country-wide survey to map out and update CSSVD outbreak areas in all the sixty (60) CHED Districts.
He said this would involve a total of 4,185 proposed sectors.
The Climate-Smart Finance workshop was organised by Rainforest Alliance with support from partners, including World Cocoa Foundation, Rootcapital and Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, to identify concrete solutions and ways to unlock climate smart agriculture finance in the Ghanaian Cocoa sector.
It was on the theme: “Designing Investment Mechanisms to Finance Climate-Smart Cocoa in the Ghanaian Cocoa Sector.”
Mr Opoku said Cocobod would provide farmers with plantain suckers, economic tree, and hybrid cocoa seedlings, which are early-bearing, high-yielding and disease tolerant to replant all treated and rehabilitated farms and also rendering effective back-up extension services to all the farmers.
Mr Opoku said the Board would continue its intensive rehabilitation and control programmes next year 2017/18 cocoa season through the removal of 118,757,158 diseased trees (107,961.5 ha) and replanting of 58,909.09 ha of unproductive farms country-wide.
He said the Board also hoped to complete a resurvey of 4,185 proposed sectors to map out outbreak areas to facilitate disease control and to effectively maintain a total of 596,533.84 hectares of productive (‘A’, ‘B’ and C classes) cocoa through mistletoe removal and pruning.
Mr Opoku said Cocobod envisaged to recoup the investment cost through improved yields after successful treatment and replanting of the farms.
He said it was important stakeholders bring to bear their ideas on how to finance the cocoa sector to make it buoyant to be able to sustain the economy going forward.
Mr Corne de Louw, Senior Project Manager Rabo Development, said access to finance was critical to increase productivity and to implement climate-smart agriculture practices.