Mr. Kwadwo Danso, Ashanti Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, who announced this, said the new hybrid cocoa seeds which are resistant to diseases and pest, also take up to two years to bear fruits with large beans sizes.
Speaking at a sensitization rally for cocoa farmers at Nsuta in the Bosome-Freho District in the Ashanti Region, he said the provision of the seedlings is part of several initiatives by COCOBOD to increase crop yield, sustain higher cocoa production and boost incomes of cocoa farmers.
Mr. Danso said other initiatives such as mass spraying and pruning of the cocoa farms, hand pollination, increased fertilizer application, rehabilitation of diseased and old cocoa farms, as well as encouraging the formation of farmer co-operatives, are all geared towards increased cocoa production in Ghana.
The rally which was organized by the New Edubiase District Office of CHED, brought together over 1,300 farmers, Chiefs and Elders of the Nsuta Traditional Area, local government officials, among others.
It aimed at providing a platform for farmers to engage with CHED and local government officials, to discuss and seek answers to some of the issues and challenges confronting cocoa production in the area.
Mr. Danso said CHED is not only targeting farmers who want to enter cocoa production for the first time, but those whose farms have been affected by diseases and pests, such as the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD).
He said COCOBOD will also supply economic trees such as Emire, Ofram and others, to farmers as permanent shade plants in their farms.
Mrs. Christiana Amponsah, the New Edubiase District Cocoa Officer said 600,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings had so far been nursed and distributed freely to farmers in the area this year.
Mr. Yaw Danso, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Bosome Freho District commended COCOBOD for the continuous efforts to support farmers to produce quality cocoa beans.