As part of efforts to ensure the success of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme, the Seed Production Division of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has raised 92m hybrid cocoa seedlings for the rehabilitation of diseased and overage farms, established new farms, and filled vacancies in existing young cocoa farms for the 2020/2021 crop season.
Dr. Emmanuel Ahia Clottey, Executive Director of the Seed Production Division (SPD) of Cocobod, said his outfit has steadily increased hybrid cocoa seedlings production from 60m to 78m in the two previous cocoa crop years.
He said 70 percent of the 92m seedlings for the current crop season were ready for transplanting, and the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) was carting them to the farms under rehabilitation.
“Our focus is to ensure a high survival rate of the transplanted seedlings for a successful programme,” he said, adding that his outfit together with CHED is taking the necessary initiatives to monitor the progress being made on the farms.
According to Dr. Ahia Clottey, good farm maintenance is key to sustainable cocoa farming, increasing yield and improving cocoa tree stock life span. He said good farm maintenance, which basically requires adherence to Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs), ensures that the trees remain strong and continue to bear healthy pods even after decades of existence.
“When farmers brush, prune their farms and apply the recommended pesticides as well as manure and or fertilizers, they can be assured of a longer and productive life span of the cocoa trees,” he said, adding that such practices will make the farms more productive and increase per hectare cocoa production volumes.