Awudua (Ash), Thirty thousand (30,000) cocoa farmers from across the nation are to be introduced to the hand pollination technique to enable them to boost crop yield and returns.
Through artificial pollination per hectare yield of the crop could hit two tonnes from the current average of 400 kilograms the farmers are getting.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cocobod, said it was part of the drive to significantly raise the nation’s cocoa production level.
Speaking at the formal launch of the programme at Awudua in the Ahafo-Ano South District, he said for a start 7,000 farmers would be trained.
The pollination, combined with fertilizer application and the cocoa farms irrigation project is likely to restore cocoa production – the mainstay of the economy to one million tonnes or more.
Mr. Aidoo indicated that a hand pollinated cocoa tree could yield between 100 and 500 pods.
The farmer could pollinate about 10 or 12 trees each day.
He noted that increased production could make up for the fall in the international market price of the commodity.
The CEO spoke of the devastation of cocoa farms by the black pod disease and said efforts at tackling the disease would be scaled up.
It is estimated that about 40 per cent of farms is affected by the disease and this is threatening profitability.
Mr. Aidoo gave the assurance that these farms would be not only be rehabilitated but aged cocoa trees were also going to be replaced.
He underlined the government’s determination to make cocoa farming more rewarding and attractive to the young people.
Source: Ghana News Agency