The National Cocoa Rehabilitation programme by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has taken off.

The programme which started in the second quarter of 2011 seeks to increase and sustain cocoa production in Ghana through rehabilitation and replacement of old and diseased cocoa trees with improved hybrid varieties.

It has been observed that about 23% of cocoa tree stocks nationwide are above 30 years and thus unproductive. Also most farms are heavily infested with mistletoes and diseases thereby reducing the potential yields of cocoa in those farms.

The programme is therefore intended to ensure sustainability of cocoa production and also augment the income of farmers through increased yields in the short to medium term, provide jobs for, especially the youth in cocoa growing communities and encourage them to take to cocoa cultivation.

This initiative ties in with the announcement by Dr. Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, in the 2012 budget statement to Parliament that government had allocated funds for the supply of 20 million hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge to farmers in 2012.

The Scheme is being implemented under two main components – Revival of moribund cocoa stock or unproductive farms/abandoned cocoa farm lands and replanting with approved high and early yielding hybrid variety; and removal and replanting of diseased cocoa farms with hybrid cocoa variety

Activities of the scheme is expected to cover six years and shall involve cutting out unproductive cocoa trees (farms) using chainsaw machines and applying aboricides and replanting with hybrid cocoa variety; assisting farmers with technical support to raise part of their seedlings requirement through the establishment of community nurseries; and among others, Control of parasitic plants-mistletoes, nationwide

Farmers who are interested in the rehabilitation programme have been asked to pick up forms from district offices of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit (CSSVD-CU) of COCOBOD for registration.

“We wish to make it clear to all, especially farmers, that establishment of new cocoa farms in forest reserves is strictly not part of the rehabilitation programme”

Source: myjoyonline.com

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