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Ghana COCOBOB supplies 20 million hybrid cocoa seedlings to farmers

By GNA

Mpitimpi (ER), Nov. 6, GNA - The Ghana COCOBOD has supplied 20 million hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge to cocoa farmers throughout the country, this year.

Mr Francis Antwi Adjei, Eastern Regional Manager of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) Control Unit (CU), who disclosed this, said 3.6 of the seedlings were distributed to farmers in the Eastern Region whose cocoa farms had been infected by the disease, and those whose farms were more than 30 years, for re-planting.

He was addressing a cocoa extension public/private partnership rally, sponsored by the World Cocoa Foundation/Cocoa Livelihood Project (WCF/CLP) in partnership with the CSSVD-CU, at Mpitimpi in the Nkawkaw District on Tuesday.

The rally aimed to educate farmers on the devastating nature of the disease and also to deepen their knowledge in best farming practices to maximize production.

Mr Adjei noted that the disease, which was first detected by a farmer at Nankese in the Suhum Municipality, like the HIVand AIDS has no known cure.

“The only cure for the disease is to cut down the affected trees to prevent it from spreading to other cocoa trees”, he said.

Mr Adjei cautioned the farmers that if they prevent the cutting down of their infected cocoa trees, the virus would keep on spreading until all cocoa trees on the farms die after five years.

He said after the diseased trees had been destroyed, the affected farmers would be compensated and supplied with hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge for re-planting, which would start bearing fruits within two to three years.

Mr Adjei said the Government through the COCOBOD would supply free fertilizers to farmers.

He also advised farmers whose cocoa farms were 30 years and more to allow their cocoa trees to be cut down and replant hybrid seedlings.

Mr Adjei said cocoa farmers would be given timber trees including Emire to plant on their farms alongside cocoa, and added that it was aimed at reforestation and putting more money into the pockets of farmers.

Ms Melody Attah, Regional Extension Officer, advised cocoa farmers to consider cocoa farming as serious business.

She asked cocoa farmers to form groups and to solicit knowledge on modern farming practices from extension officers to maximize output.

Ms Attah advised cocoa farmers to avoid engaging their children of school going age on cocoa farms at the expense of their education.

She reminded cocoa farmer that buyers of the produce on the world market would blacklist Ghana if they detect that children below 18 years were being engaged on worst forms of labour on cocoa farms.

Ms Attah noted that children who were engaged to carry heavy load suffered stunted growth.

GNA

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