Hope Returns To Ghana’s CSSVD-Ravaged Western North Cocoa Region
Life has returned to villages, hamlets and communities which were hitherto abandoned by migrant cocoa farmers due to the outbreak and ravaging effects of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) in Ghana’s Western North Region.
According to Mr Fiifi Boafo, Senior Public Affairs Manager of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), but for the Board’s cleverly thought-out Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme rolled out in the region by the new Management of COCOBOD, thousands of farmers in the region would have migrated to cities in search of non-existent jobs.
The programme involved cutting down affected farms and replanting them at no cost to the farmer.
Additionally, an incentive package of GHc1000 is paid to both the farmer and the landowner, where necessary, for every hectare of diseased cocoa farm.
Mr Boafo reports the attractive package has motivated many farmers to willingly give out their diseased farms to be rehabilitated.
He was speaking on Citi Tv’s ‘The Point of View’ programme during which he explained over 10-points achievements within the cocoa sector over the past few years.
‘The current package was designed with the cocoa farmer in mind – aside of the compensation paid to him and his landowner by the Board, COCOBOD bears the full costs of hybrid cocoa seedlings, plantain suckers and labourers who plant and maintain the farms for 2 years – even with the plantains, the farmer is allowed to harvest and sell for extra income and in the ensuing year, the farmers are again allowed to harvest the offshoots of the suckers and sell to COCOBOD to establish new farms,’ he noted.
Mr Boafo further hinted that such a fantastic scheme has caused several cocoa farmers who lost their livelihoods to the CSSVD and migrated to the Brong Ahafo and parts of the Eastern Region to return to rebuild their abodes and continue their one-time main source of income.
‘About 8,904 farmers have had their farms treated with some 11,564.28 hectares of swollen shoot affected farms in the Western North and Eastern Regions treated and re-planted with cocoa, plantain and economic shade trees. In all, 50,000 youth have been recruited under the programme which is expected to run for the next five years,” Mr Fiifi Boafo added.
Some beneficiary communities which are fast seeing a massive return of cocoa farmers include Pillar 34, Yamatwa, Adabokrom, Bekwai, Enchi, among others.
He again assured that the next phase of the rehabilitation programme will cover 154,400 hectares of diseased and overaged cocoa farms and promised that every single farmer who has their farm affected by the virus will not be left out in the on-going compensation exercise once data gathered are verified.
Mr Boafo was grateful to cocoa farmers, opinion leaders and traditional rulers for their invaluable contribution towards the steady successes chalked so far.