COCOBOD is raising 11.5 million improved cocoa seedlings to be supplied to farmers in the Brong-Ahafo Region by the close of the year.
Dr Nii Tackie-Otoo, the Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division of COCOBOD, who announced this, said the Government had strengthened the mass cocoa spraying exercise to prevent the swollen shoot disease from attacking the plants.
He said a community tasked force would soon be set up to supervise the spraying exercise, adding that only recommended agro-chemicals would be used.
Dr Tackie-Otoo expressed worry about the swollen shoot diseases attacking about 17 per cent of cocoa trees in the Region, with about 23 per cent of cocoa farms becoming old.
These problems, Dr Tackie-Otoo said, had affected quality of cocoa beans and decreased cocoa production.
Dr Tackie-Otoo was answering questions on measures to improve on cocoa production in the Brong-Ahafo Region at a Town Hall Meeting organised by the Asutifi North District Assembly at Kenyasi.
The meeting created an opportunity for the public to interact with the District Assembly on Government policies and programmes such as the Free Senior High School, and One-District-One-Factory.
Dr Tackie-Otoo said the Government had increased the allowances of sprayers engaged in the mass spraying exercise from GH¢75.00 to GH¢200.00 and warned that those who extorted monies from farmers would be sanctioned.
He said with the implementation of the Free Senior High School Policy, the COCOBOD Scholarship to children and wards of cocoa farmers in SHS would be scrapped.
Dr Tackie-Otoo said the Government would soon pilot an irrigation scheme to assist farmers and undertake a biometric registration of cocoa farmers.
Aside that, artificial pollination would be undertaken in many farms in the Region and 1,242 extension officers had been engaged for that project all geared towards improving yield, he said.