The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has so far cut down about 20% of cocoa trees under its ongoing cocoa rehabilitation project.
COCOBOD target is to ultimately cut down 40% of cocoa trees. According to the board, out of 40%, 17% have been affected by the swollen shot disease while 23% are over 30 years and have become unproductive.
Head of public affairs for COCOBOD Noah Amenyah, says the impact of the project cannot be over emphasized. He stated that the rehabilitation programme has been going on over the past three years without any compensation to farmers.
“We are looking on how to enhance it, management is looking at considering some form of compensation and that is not yet fully resolved so we cannot announce what else it will entail,” he added.
He urged farmers to avail themselves for the rehabilitation programme in order to have a productive farm.
COCOBOD target is to raise production to one million metric tonnes by 2020 from the current annual output of 800,000 tonnes. However, concerns are that the cocoa rehabilitation programme will affect the one million metric tonnes target. But Noah Amenyah disagrees.
He stated that some of the cocoa farms have already been affected and destroyed by illegal mining and it is one of the reasons why they must introduce the rehabilitation programme to help in the pollination of the cocoa trees in order to increase productivity of the farms.
“For now, you will cut down your farms, you may not be in production now but you will soon be back with the production,” he added.
Meanwhile the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) Edward Kareweh has said that the explanation for cutting down 40% of cocoa trees without compensating the affected farmers is not clear.
“In the past, they did not cut down cocoa trees without paying them something” he added.