The Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) has lauded Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) and Afarinick Company Limited for successfully addressing challenges that bedevilled implementation of the ongoing National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.
The rehab programme was initiated by the government 3 years ago to rejuvenate the country’s cocoa production sector.
Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, has been bogged by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) and over-aged farms account for 17% of its 1.9 million hectare cocoa tree stock.
But progress on rehabilitation implementation slowed in recent times due to labour shortages and the scarcity of plantain suckers needed for re-establishing moribund farms.
The delay caused alarm among farmers whose livelihoods had been put on hold pending the successful rehabilitation of their CSSVD-infested cocoa farms.
In light of this challenge, Cocobod introduced the Cocoa Extension System, a strategy that opened the doors for private sector actors with proven capacity to participate in accelerating the pace of programme delivery.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, GCCP, a civil society group made up of cocoa farmer cooperatives, NGOs, CSOs, and media organisations, identified the review of the cocoa rehab implementation strategy as one of the major highlights of the just-ended 2022/23 cocoa season.
“We also had an unprecedented review of approaches used in COCOBOD’s flagship cocoa rehabilitation programme where the majority of the issues that bedevilled the programme were addressed,” said Leticia Yankey, spokesperson for the civil society platform.
The independent civil society platform also observed the phenomenal contribution of a private sector farm service company that is partnering with Cocobod to accelerate the pace of the programme.
“We commend the work being done by Afarinick Company Limited in supplying much-needed plantain [seedlings] to farmers,” emphasised Yankey.
Afarinick Company Limited is a Ghanaian-owned farm service company that offers agro-input supply, farm management, and large-scale production of planting materials.
Afarinick has in the last 2 years been producing millions of fast-yielding plantain seedlings for the ongoing nationwide cocoa rehabilitation programme and is set to supply 25 million in 2023 alone.
The indigenous Ghanaian farm service company has seedling nurseries in Western North, Western South, Brong Ahafo, and Volta Regions covering a total area of 600 acres.
It has farm service operations in all seven cocoa-growing regions of Ghana with a workforce of more than 30,000 involved in the propagation of quality planting materials, treatment, establishment and maintenance of sustainable cocoa farms.