The Ghana COCOBOD has launched artificial hand pollination project aimed at increasing cocoa yields in the country.
The launch was performed by the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, at Awadua in the Ahafo Ano South District of Ashanti Region.
The artificial hand pollination project is being carried out in all the six cocoa growing districts in the country, and involves the picking of pollen from the cocoa flowers and dropping it on the stigma for cross fertilization.
The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo explained that the hand pollination has become necessary due to the depletion of the natural pollinators resulting in reduction in cocoa yields.
He said a cocoa tree produces one thousand flowers every season but only five percent of the flowers grow into pods.
Again, Ghana only produces 0.45 tonnes of cocoa per hectare compared with other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia who produces 2 tonnes or more of cocoa per hectare.
But he noted that for Ghana “to reach that target, the intervention is the hand pollination.”
Mr Boahen Aidoo said 7,000 farm crews been recruited for the pilot project which targets over 50,000 cocoa farmers in the six cocoa growing districts.
He however, said that by April 2018, a total of 30,000 farm recruits would have been recruited to do the hand pollination and subsequently train the cocoa farmers.
He was hopeful the hand pollination will increase Ghana’s cocoa production and also give more income to cocoa farmers.
The hand pollination exercise will be done between June and July which is the main season and November to January which is the light cocoa season.