President John Dramani Mahama has promised to revamp the cocoa production sector, especially in the Eastern Region, with the distribution of free seedlings expected to play a major role.
Aside the regular challenges the cocoa sector faces from pests and diseases, activities of small scale illegal miners popularly has emerged to be a major threat to the country’s total cocoa output.
Though President Mahama did not speak to the threat of illegal mining, he cited government’s free seedling distribution as one of the measures put in place to improve yields during an address to his National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithful in the Fanteakwa North constituency during his campaign tour.
The NDC flagbearer assured that his government wanted to “cocoa farmers to make more money. That is why we are embarking on the free seedling distribution.”
“So if you know you cocoa trees are over grown and unproductive, you would have to cut them down and go for new seedlings. They are absolutely free,” President Mahama said in advise to the farmers.
Thus, “if you visit the seedling bank, your farm will be measured and you will receive free seedlings just like that,” he added.
850,000 metric tonnes of cocoa targeted for 2015/2016
Earlier in 2016, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) said it was optimistic it would achieve its targeted output for the 2015/2016 crop season with almost five months to the end of the crop season.
COCOBOD at the beginning of the 2015/2016 crop season set a target of 850,000 metric tonnes. This was up from the 800,000 metric tonnes it set the previous year.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur had a more optimistic projection as he assured that government intended to increase cocoa production from to 1 million tons this cocoa season.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana