The Cocoa Rehabilitation Program has been employed to combat the spread of the cocoa swollen shoot disease and to replace unproductive cocoa trees with early bearing, high yielding and disease resistant cocoa varieties. Following its launch in 2020, operations have commenced in the Western South to facilitate the greater goal of increased productivity.
The Western region over the past decade has led in the total tonnage of cocoa beans produced nationwide but has seen a decline over the past few years. Production in the region has declined from a record high of 590,370 tonnes in 201/11 to 364,383 tonnes in the 2018/19 production year reemphasizing the need for the rehabilitation program. The Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease immensely contributed to this decline.
Work has commenced in Mumuni, Pataho, Simpa, Mile 5, K3, K5, K9, Adum Banso, Tumentu just to name a few with a significant number of farmers affected. With the current provision made by the government, farmers although skeptical about their livelihood for the next very few years are assured of a more productive farm rid of the cocoa swollen shoot disease, aged and unproductive trees.
Nationwide production has reduced from a record high of 1,024,553 tonnes in 2010/11 to 811,747 tonnes in the 2018/19 production year, a difference of 212,806 tonnes or 3,404,896 bags of cocoa representing a 20.77% drop in cocoa beans production and a loss of about GHS 2,247,231,360 with GHS 660 as the reference price for a bag of cocoa in Ghana. The need for this rehabilitation program clearly cannot be overemphasized.
On the journey to restore Ghana to its best cocoa producing ability, the program is a step in the right direction but one will ask:
What are the short term implications on the crop available for procurement and export in the region?
Can a similar procedure be employed in the case of the Bacterial Black Spot Disease of mango?
What other measures have been taken by the government to ensure all these monetary investments coupled with the sacrifices by the Ghanaian cocoa farmer is not lost to the activities of miners?