Accra, Oct. 08, GNA-Solidaridard, an international civil society organisation is supporting climate-smart cocoa production in some hard-to-reach cocoa growing communities in the country.
It has, therefore, presented some farming equipment and sanitary items to the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED) of the Ghana Cocoa Board, in Mim, Dunkwa, Diaso and Sefwi Wiaso to support the training of cocoa farmers in climate-smart cocoa production.
The items, including wellington boots, cutlasses, hand sanitizers and jumbo size pieces of tissue papers, were handed over to CHED officials at various offices, in the Ahafo, Central, and Western North regions.
Presenting the items to the CHED officials, Mr Samuel Addae-Boadu, Programme Officer, Solidaridad, who, together with Mr Hammond Mensah, Programmes Manager, for the Phase Two of Solidaridad’s Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II), said about 70,000 farmers were expected to be trained in climate-smart cocoa production training programme, being organised in collaboration with CHED.
Also, Rural Service Centres (RSCs), being manned by private entrepreneurs, had been established in key communities to help in the service provision to the cocoa farmers.
Mr Addae-Boadu said the farmers would be trained in production practices like the treatment of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) infested farms, rehabilitation of over aged and moribund cocoa farms as well as the maintenance of productive cocoa farms.
He said farmers were also being supported to nurture model farms where they were being supported to practice climate-smart cocoa production, all aimed at boosting their yields.
Mr Mensah, on his part, said the Dutch government was funding the CORIP II project, which was aimed at boosting the production of cocoa farmers and “making them prosperous.”
“We will also ensure that farmers are producing the cocoa responsibly, not applying unapproved chemicals, not using child labour and not indulging in deforestation,” he said.
Mr Isaac Adu, Deputy Regional Manager, Cocoa Health Extension Division, Western North region, welcomed Solidaridad, for coming on board to save the cocoa sector, and for supporting CHED with the farming equipment.
He said cocoa production, especially, the rehabilitation of a diseased cocoa farm, involved many activities, particularly in the areas of finance to cater for the weeding of the farms, the cutting down of diseased trees, after which the land was prepared for planting, to take place.
“All these involve money, so if you are not financially strong, it will be very difficult to take up that project. So we are very much happy to have a company like Solidaridad to come in to help us in the cocoa rehabilitation programme,” Mr Adu said.
Mr Samuel Asare Ankomah, Regional Manager, Cocobod CHED, Diaso Cocoa District, Central region, said many of the farmers have now embraced the climate-smart cocoa production programme, having observed how their colleague farmers were benefitting immensely through Solidaridad’s resourced RSCs providers’ assistance and guidance.
He said farmers who embraced the cocoa rehabilitation project were also being compensated for the cutting of their cocoa farms while the land owners and the chiefs in the affected communities were also being compensated.
Meanwhile, Mr Ankomah had stated that more education was ongoing on the need for all cocoa growing communities in the country to embrace the National Cocoa farm Rehabilitation initiative that was recently launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Sefwi Wiaso.
That initiative, being rolled out in cocoa communities, is aimed at first treating and re-establishing circa 37,000 hectares of CSSVD infested farms in the Western North region and later to other cocoa growing communities.