The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has increased its free distribution of cocoa seedlings to farmers from 50 million to 60 million across the country.
The move was to ensure that every farmer get access to these seedlings free of charge to replant as well as raise the country’s cocoa output from the current 850,000 tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes.
Dr Stephen Opuni, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, said this when a two member delegation from DZ Bank, a German Financial Institution, visited the company to acquaint themselves with the operations as part of activities to mark farmer’s durbar in the Eastern Region.
COCOBOD signed 1.8 billion dollars loan agreement with some 25 international banks to improve on its operations.
The entourage visited the Brekumanso cocoa hybrid seedlings and cocoa farms in Akwadum and interacted with the farmers on their operations.
Dr Opuni said the company was improving the cocoa roads to facilitate transportation and has embarked on free mass spraying exercise to get rid of diseases that affects cocoa.
He said their outfit had engaged the services of 500 extension officers to educate cocoa farmers on best practices in their field of farming and has supported wards of farmers with cocoa scholarship for better education.
Dr Opuni urged the farmers to take advantage of the opportunities given them and rehabilitate the abandoned cocoa farms for improved production.
He encouraged the youth to sign up to the youth in cocoa farming project initiated by COCOBOD to be productive in their fields of endeavour and enjoyed the benefits associated in cocoa farming.
He appealed to the traditional authorities to make land available for the youth to venture into cocoa farming and reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
The German delegation expressed satisfaction at the Company’s output and initiative in improving seedlings for the farmers.
Nana Obeng Akrofi, Regional Chief Farmer for Eastern Region, has complained the activities of illegal mining which has affected the work of the cocoa farmers and urged authorities to help address the problem.