Ghana’s cocoa board raises payments to farmers affected by swollen shoot virus
Ghana’s Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has increased a crop compensation package for landowners and cocoa farmers who agree to cut and replant their Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) affected farms under the on-going National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.
According to the industry organisation, the initial payments had been set at Ghc 552.96 has now been increased to Ghc 1000.00 per hectare, in order to address commercial losses being faced by farming communities.
The chief executive of Cocobod, Joseph Boahen Aidoo announced the increased payment at Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North Region during a meeting of chiefs and people of Sefwi wiawso Traditional Area in honour of the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s visit to the region.
Hon. Aidoo said that out of a total of 1.9 million hectares of cocoa farms surveyed, 315,800 hectares had been affected by the swollen shoot virus disease. Out of this, the Western North Region alone had 214,500 hectares of affected farms. He advised landowners and cocoa farmers to allow their infected trees to be cut and replanted with high yielding, early bearing and disease tolerant seedlings for increased and sustainable yield.
According to the chief executive, the cost of cutting the infected cocoa trees and replanting will be handled by government and Cocobod. In addition, plantain suckers and economic trees seedlings will be supplied at no cost to the affected farmers.
Hon. Aidoo stressed that no chemical can treat an infected cocoa tree unless it is cut and replanted. “Out of every five hectares of cocoa farm, two hectares are infected”, he added, urging farmers to embrace the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme to forestall any decline in production output. He said the youth in the farming communities have been engaged in the replanting exercise to create employment for them.