The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has since last year paid Ghc104.7 million as an initial treatment grant to 68 cocoa farmers, owners of 90 farms out of 103 destroyed because of swollen shoot disease attack.

The farms covered 104.73 hectares out of 106.58, where the disease was most prevalent in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region.

Mr Benjamin Adu-Bobbie, the Dormaa District Cocoa Officer, told the Ghana News Agency at Dormaa-Ahenkro that the grant for the remaining farms destroyed was yet to be paid.

He was speaking about the level of progress and challenges facing the implementation of the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP) in the area.

Mr Adu-Bobie said there were a total of 513 hectares of farmland affected by the disease in the Municipality, adding that the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Cocobod had now destroyed 43,281 cocoa trees attacked by the disease on 106.58 hectares of farm area, exceeding projections of 50 hectares for last year.

He said plantain and cocoyam as well as ‘ofram’ and ‘emere’ trees that provided shades were planted on the 106.58 hectares of farmland, where cocoa trees attacked by the disease were destroyed to aid the cocoa maturity process and restoration.

The District Cocoa Officer said in line with the process of rehabilitation, cocoa seedlings had been nursed on 88 hectares of farmland to be distributed to the farmers for replanting.

Mr Adu-Bobbie said, “the benefits of the PEP concept and cocoa rehabilitation initiative to the farmers are enormous because the government buys each plantain sucker at 50 pesewas from the farmers.”

The suckers were then given to other farmers engaged in the concept of plantations to plant alongside economic shade trees like ‘ofram’ and ‘emere’ which later become the farmer’s assets, he said.

Source: newsghana.com.gh