AfDB loan saves cocoa industry from collapse -Boahen Aidoo

The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, says the multi-million dollar cocoa loan his outfit contracted from the Africa Development Bank (ADB) has judiciously been used to save the cocoa industry from collapse.

According to him, some of the cocoa farms were attacked by various diseases such as –“Witches’ Broom”, Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) and that the government had to intervene to deal with the situation.

Cacao Plant Protection

Joseph Boahen Aidoo went ahead to mention some of these interventions as buying of new seeds, pay farmers monthly and also supported them in planting plants to support their families, as they try to revamp the destroyed cocoa trees.

He said this whilst speaking with Nana Yaw Fianko on Atinka TV’s Agenda show yesterday. According to him, the various diseases he earlier mentioned affected over 700,000 acres of cocoa farmlands, and that the only way to combat it was to uproot the trees.

He asserted that Sefwi was the epicentre of the disease noting that the disease impacted 320,000 hectares of land.

He admitted that in 2010, Ghana harvested a good amount of cocoa, but somewhere along the line, it declined due to the diseases.

“We went to the African Development Bank and they gave us the money, and we made the farmers know that it was not their fight but that of the government. Therefore, we purchased new seeds, planted them and managed the farms for two years, providing compensation of GHC 1,000 for each pole or hectare.

Currently, we have grown most of the cocoa, covering about 68,000 hectares. Approximately 40,000 hectares are fully ready for production and the farmers are already reaping the benefits, he said.

Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CE of Ghana Cocoa Board

Meanwhile, he claimed that the farms are doing better now than before the intervention. “Sometimes, people say we have accumulated loans; this was part of it; we used it for something profitable; we used it to save the industry and the farmers also know that we used it to save the industry; if not, the disease would have been spreading by now”, he added.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo said that although the spread of the disease had not completely stopped, they were able to contain it from causing more harm. Despite this feat, he said Ghana has not been able to generate the money it needed from cocoa, blaming it on many challenges.

Aside from the disease, he said that illegal mining is another thing that seriously affects cocoa farming.

The COCOBOD CEO explained that the miners dig the pit close to the cocoa farms and it draws water from the land under the cocoa farms, which results in dryness and affects the growth of the cocoa.

He mentioned that El-Nino also had an impact on cocoa farming. He said this was not the first time it was happening, saying that last year it brought excessive rainfall, which also affected the cocoa trees.

He said Ghana’s production will be one of the lowest this year due to the aforementioned challenges.

“Last year, it rained in August; ordinarily, it should not rain in August, so the non-stop rain that occurred last year destroyed a lot of things”.


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