Ghana Produces 92million Hybrid Cocoa Seedlings For 2020/21 Crop Year
The Seed Production Division of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has successfully raised 92 million hybrid cocoa seedlings for the 2020/2021 Crop Season.
The hybrid cocoa seedlings are targeted at supporting the ongoing Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme for the replacement of thousands of diseased farms infected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus.
Others would also go to rejuvenating overage farms, the establishment of new farms as well as filling of vacancies in existing young cocoa farms.
The Executive Director of the Seed Production Division (SPD), Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ahia Clottey, noted that his outfit had steadily increased hybrid cocoa seedlings production from 60 million to 78 million in the two previous cocoa crop years.
He disclosed 70% of 92 million seedlings for the current crop season are ready for transplanting, adding that the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) has begun carting them to the farms under rehabilitation. Other farmers are also receiving their allocations for their new farms.
“Our focus is to ensure a high survival rate of the transplanted seedlings for a successful programme,” assured Clottey.
Rev. Dr. Clottey said, his outfit together with CHED are taking the necessary initiatives to monitor the progress being made on the farms.
According to him, good farm maintenance is key to sustainable cocoa farming, increasing yield and improving cocoa tree stock life span.
He explained that 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 productive life span of the cocoa trees”, he maintained.
The Executive Director of SPD was convinced that such practices will make the farms more productive and increase production volume per hectare.
Ghana is currently undertaking a US$400 million cocoa farm rehabilitation programme on the back of massive devastation by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) which has rendered affected farms unproductive.
According to the Ghanaian cocoa industry regulator, COCOBOD, as of 2017, the country’s total area of cocoa farms stood at 1.9 million hectares, out of which 800,000 hectares were unproductive.