Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) would distribute 60 million cocoa seedlings free of charge to cocoa farmers across the country for planting this season.
Dr Francis Baah, the Executive Director, Cocoa Health and Extension Division, COCOBOD, made this known at the inauguration of a ten member taskforce formed to monitor cocoa disease and pest control chemicals for the Kejebril District in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
Dr Baah said management was waiting the onset of the rains before the seedlings, which would be enough to cover over 50,000 hectares, were released to farmers.
He urged farmers to contact their leaders in their areas for allocation.
He announced that a new chemical known as “Folia-Livet A” that makes spraying faster and easier has been introduced on the market and farmers would be educated on its usage.
Mr James Kofi Kutsoati, the Deputy Chief Executive, in charge of Operations at COCOBOD, inaugurated the taskforce and called for vigilance among members to prevent diversion of cocoa beans to neighbouring countries.
The ten member taskforce, comprise security personnel, cocoa officers and farmers, district assembly members and officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation.
The taskforce would among others curb the smuggling of cocoa beans, monitor the distribution of fertilizer and chemicals to cocoa farmers, and serve as vigilante group to ensure that farmers adopt good practices.
It has Madam Elizabeth Asah, Kejebril District Cocoa Officer as its chairman.
Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, noted that the pollution of the river bodies by illegal miners was having adverse effects on the economy and warned that those caught would be dealt with together with their accomplices.
Mr Anthony Kwesi Osei, Kejebril District Chief Farmer, called on experts in cocoa to educate farmers in the hinterlands on best practices to increase their yield.