Cocoa farmers in the Boinso Cocoa District in the Western South Region, are benefitting from the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme aimed at cutting and replanting Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus infected farms.
The measure is a means of containing the disease and sustaining the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
This year alone, about 400.000 hectares of cocoa farms that were infected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), have been treated at Boinso District free of charge by the Ghana Cocoa Board for the affected farmers.
According to the Regional Manager, Mr Samuel Osei, this period was critical because all the farms needed to be replanted with healthy hybrid cocoa seedlings and BMT raised plantain suckers to provide temporary shade for the cocoa during the dry season.
He said, COCOBOD was providing all the seedlings free of charge to the beneficiary cocoa farmers and therefore, courted their support in ensuring the farms were timely replanted.
Mr Samuel Osei underscored the challenge of labour for the field operations such as slashing before planting, lining, and pegging, holing, planting of seedlings and general weeding and maintenance of the farms.
It was against this background that, the Regional Manager appealed to the beneficiaries to actively participate in all field operations, while COCOBOD through its service providers, Afarinick and Kumad paid them for all approved activities to be undertaken.
Mr. Osei during his power point presentation showed to farmers, revealed that farms treated in less than two years ago, were fruiting and bearing pods and attributed the success to active participation of the owners leveraging on the support of COCOBOD.
He, however, bemoaned the low interest of the youth in cocoa farming due to illegal mining activities (galamsey) and educated the farmers on the dangers the illegal mining activities posed to the cocoa industry if not checked.
The Western-South Regional Manager disclosed that about 209 farms with an area of 4857 hectares have been treated and replanted about four years ago, and would be handed over to the owners very soon .
He said the farms were well established and have come to production and advised all cocoa farmers benefitting from the project to take lessons from these and also get the hybrid cocoa farms that were high yielding for enhanced standard of living.
Mr Osei used the occasion to educated cocoa farmers to support the fight against smuggling of dried cocoa beans along the border communities, stressed that if it continued, Cocobod cannot get revenue to support the numerous interventions being rolled out to support cocoa farmers.
He particularly advised all cocoa farmers to plant more economic shade trees seedlings on their cocoa farms by taking advantage of the upcoming Green Ghana Project to provide permanent shade for their cocoa trees for higher yields and also to prolong the life span of the cocoa trees.
Cocoa farmers at the programme were thankful to COCOBOD for the project and called on them to treat more farms at Boinso next season for many more farmers to benefit from the good project.