Gov’t take steps to increase cocoa production

Kumasi, Cocobod has initiated moves to increase per hectare yield of cocoa to two metric tonnes from the current 0.45, to significantly raise the nation’s crop production level and returns.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo, said this involves the introduction of hand pollination, vigorous and massive irrigation programme, replacement of aged cocoa trees and rehabilitation of farms affected by the swollen shoot disease.

The goal was to make cocoa farming more rewarding to attract more young people into it to hit the one million tonnes, which was achieved in the 2010/2011 crop season.

Mr. Aidoo, who was addressing a staff durbar in Kumasi, said the government was eager to see substantial investment flow into the cocoa sector.

He indicated that the continued decline in cocoa production and the fall of the price of the commodity on the international market had been the main challenges.

As part of measures to deal with the world price fall, they were making aggressive push towards encouraging and providing strong support for local processing and consumption of cocoa.

That, he said, would help to add value to the crop and expand the local market for cocoa products.

Mr. Aidoo called for total support of the workers, hard work and commitment to achieve set targets.

He said management was expecting to work with them to restore the image of Cocobod, hurt by reports of bad governance practices, corruption and other acts of malfeasance.

He encouraged the extension officers and other front line staff – the interface between the Cocobod and cocoa farmers, to show greater respect for the farmers at all times since they were the fulcrum of the cocoa industry.

Source: Ghana News Agency