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40% of cocoa trees to go down

Government is to offer support to cocoa farmers who will cut down unproductive trees, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Joseph Boahen Aidoo has announced.

According to Mr. Boahen Aidoo, about 40% of cocoa trees has become unproductive as a result of the trees being either over-aged or have been affected by the swollen shoot disease.

But the refusal of the farmers to slash them to make way for new ones, has culminated in the country recording low yields of the produce.

The farmers are reluctant to cut the trees because they have no alternative source of livelihood.

But Mr. Boahen Aidoo said the situation will soon change when government’s intervention policy strategy towards improving cocoa yield, is rolled out.

Mr. Boahen Aidoo made the remark at the palace of the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, when Board members of Cocobod, led by Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyemang, paid a courtesy call at Kyebi, Friday, June 30. 

Mr. Boahene Aidoo (left) and Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyemang (middle) at the Okyenhene's palace.

The Board had been on a retreat at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to deliberate on strategies to boost cocoa production and put the country back on track as the world’s leading cocoa producer.

The CEO said government is prepared to provide yearly financial support to farmers who will cut down infertile trees, supply seedlings as well as provide them with extension services. 

He said discussions with some banks to that effect, are well advanced.

Members of the Board also visited the Tafohene, Nana Agyen Frimpong II, where they expressed appreciation to the Chief, for releasing land for the establishment of CRIG and other research institutions for the benefit of the country.