President Akufo-Addo re-launches CODAPEC

Dansokrom(WR), President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced various interventions put up by the government to revive the once vibrant cocoa industry and attract more youth into the sector to aid rapid socio-economic growth.

He said the government, as a first step, had been able to clear a debt of 20 billion dollars before the August deadline and thereby making national savings of over 400,000 dollars, which could have been a penalty.

Other interventions included the purchase of weeding and plugging machines, the employment of more than 10,000 Ghanaians who had been trained on introduction of hand pollination and the re-introduction of mass cocoa spraying, officials to ensure proper crop handling to increase yields and economic returns.

The President announced these interventions during the re-launch of the Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control Programme (CODAPEC) by the Ghana COCOBOD at Dansokrom a suburb of Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region.

President Akuffo-Addo was in the Region to officially express gratitude to the people of the Western North in particular and the Region in general for the massive support and voting of the New Patriotic Party into power in the December 2016 general elections.

According to the COCOBOD, recent studies had shown that the constant use of chemicals such as the weedicides and herbicides to clear the land for cultivation was gradually affecting the potency of the soil as well as yields and described the current production rate as unpleasant.

The President prayed that the numerous interventions would help the country to produce not less than 1.5 million tonnes of cocoa in the shortest possible time.

The mass cocoa spraying exercise would commence early September and may engage more than 20,000 people to carry out the duty of reviving the cocoa industry.

Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo , Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD said one hectare of cocoa farm though elsewhere may produce 2000 kilogrammes of cocoa, Ghana did 450 kilogrammes, adding, Our interventions and fertilizers is going to ensure that a tree can carry between 100 to 200 pods.

He said plans were far advanced to bring irrigation systems to most demonstration farms to ensure all year planting.

He encouraged the youth to take advantage and become part of the cocoa industry, adding that the African Development Bank in collaboration with the government of Ghana has instituted some funds to encourage the youth in cocoa farming and agriculture in general.

Mr. Aidoo on the other hand advised cocoa farmers to make good use of the fertilizers given them at a subsidized price rather than transport them to neighbouring countries to increase cocoa yields to the detriment of the country.

On the sidelines of the official launch was the durbar with chiefs and people of the Sefwi Wiawso area, Wassa Akropong and Denkyira-Obausi .

Source: Ghana News Agency