The world’s seasoned producer of quality cocoa beans Ghana is poised to have additional 500,000 new hectares of cocoa farms in the next decade as part of efforts to address the challenge of over aged farms.
This was disclosed by Cocobod’s Chief Executive, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, on the occasion to mark this year’s National COCOA DAY, which was held at Tepa, in the Ahafo Ano North District of the Ashanti region.
The day has been set aside to celebrate and honour the hardworking cocoa farmers and also to promote the consumption of cocoa products in Ghana.
Addressing a gathering of chiefs, cocoa farmers and industrial players, he noted that Cocobod in its quest to sustain the cocoa sector has so far supported cocoa farmers with 50 million hybrid of cocoa seedlings to replace the aging cocoa farms in the country.
An additional 60 million hybrid seedlings are also expected to be distributed for free to farmers in this just opened coca season.
Dr Opuni was optimistic that measures put in place will position Ghana to take up the leading role in cocoa production in the world.
The Cocoa industry remains the main stay of the Ghanaian economy and contributes significantly to foreign exchange earnings and tax revenue for the provision of infrastructures such as hospitals, schools and roads in Ghana.
Despite the numerous success chalked by the cocoa sector, the sector still struggles with a number of challenges in the area of declining soil fertility, aging cocoa farmers, climate change, illegal mining lack of interest by youth to go into cocoa production, virus and other pest that affect cocoa production.
He reiterated government’s commitment to continue with it free distribution of fertilizers, free mass spraying and cocoa seedlings to improve cocoa productivity.
This initiative is expected to help farmers to rehabilitate the over aged cocoa trees, disease farms.
‘’Naturally, all these interventions are aimed at sustaining productivity in order to improve upon cocoa yields and eventually revenue from cocoa. This productivity enhancement programme has attracted and motivated over 40,000 young men and women to go into cocoa production’’he stressed.
He said this will add to about 500,000 to 750,000 metric tons over the next 10 years to our current cocoa yield.
Dr. Opuni used the occasion to appeal to young men and women to venture into the productivity enhancement programme.