The Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease Control Unit (CSSVDCU) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has held farmers’ education forum at Adomfe in the Asante-Akim South with a call on them to cooperate with the Unit to boost cocoa production.
The farmers were advised to allow their infected cocoa farms to be cut down to prevent the virus from spreading and wreaking more havoc.
Farmers from six cocoa growing communities – Asankare, Atwedie, Bompata, Kurofa, Morso and Adomfe attended the forum and were sensitized on the swollen shoot disease.
Mr Eric Kwame Agyei, Technical Manager of CSSVDCU, said the disease is prevalent in the Ashanti Region and must be prevented from taking firm stronghold.
He expressed worry about the situation where many of the farmers in spite of the supply of seedlings and cash rewards were refusing to allow the destruction of their infected farms.
He said the only way to fight the disease was to completely remove the affected trees and added that doing this was in the farmers’ own interest.
Mr Agyei told them that as part of efforts by the COCOBOD to raise the cocoa production level, it had re-introduced the “cocoa extension service concept” to assist to expose the farmers to best farming practices.
There are also plans to help rehabilitate farms that were over 30 years old to improve their yield through fertilizer application.
Mr Francis Kwaku Oye, Ashanti Regional Manager of CSSVDCU, commended cocoa farmers for their hard work resulting in the country hitting the 1,000,000 tons cocoa production level last year.
He urged them to redouble their efforts to enable Ghana to re-capture the position of the world’s leading cocoa producer.
Mr De-graft Fokuo, the District Chief Executive (DCE), reiterated the need for cocoa farmers to heed technical advice of the extension officers to increase crop yield and returns.
He encouraged the youth to go into cocoa farming since it was rewarding.