Loss of cocoa farms shows govt failed to effectively implement rehabilitation project – Minority

Eric Opoku, the National Democratic Congress spokesperson for agriculture and Member of Parliament for Asunafo South, has expressed concern over the loss of more than 500,000 hectares of cocoa farms in Ghana due to the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD).

He interprets this loss as a failure of the government to properly implement the Cocoa Rehabilitation Project (CRP).

The CRP, a Government of Ghana initiative, was part of the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) package supervised by the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The project aimed to cut down all diseased and unproductive cocoa trees and replace them with hybrid cocoa seedlings to boost yields.

However, Mr. Opoku stated on Eyewitness News on Citi FM that the program had not been effectively implemented, and the money intended for the program was not efficiently used.

“I have difficulty appreciating the 500,000 hectares that the Chief Executive is talking about because around 2018, specifically in October 2020 when the President launched the cocoa rehabilitation program in Sehwi Wiawso, he indicated that a survey had been conducted by COCOBOD and the period from 2006 to 2017, and the survey indicated that the cocoa swollen shoot disease had covered 17% of all the total farmlands under cocoa production. And the total farmland under cocoa production was estimated at 1.9 million hectares. And so we are talking about 17%… It was something alarming, and we needed immediate action, and that was why Ghana had to go and borrow $600 million for cocoa replanting. So I am surprised that today the disease is consuming as much as 500,000, over 25%.”

“…The program has not been properly implemented… We must interrogate the issues critically,” he stated.



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