Sunday, June 11, 2017

COCOBOD Recruits 7,000 Pollinators

4:50:00 AM

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has recruited 7,000 people across the country to work as pollinators in various cocoa farms because of inadequate pollinating species in the ecosystem.

Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, who announced this, said management intends to increase the number of pollinators to 30,000 by the end of this year in order to address the acute shortage of the pollinating insects.

He disclosed this while speaking at a demonstration exercise on pollination of cocoa flowers by some trained personnel of the COCOBOD at a cocoa farm at Awadua, near Mankranso in the Ahafo-Ano South District of the Ashanti Region.

Mr Aidoo stated that the move was in line with the vision of the government led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to boost the cocoa sector by increasing cocoa production and improving the quality of cocoa produced.

He disclosed that the number of pollinating species had declined in recent years because of the use of pesticides in mass cocoa spraying exercise and diseases.

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of a plant, and this is done unwittingly by active species such as fruit bats, hummingbird, hoverflies and lemurs without cost to the nation.

Cocoa is not just a cash crop; it is the food of the gods. It increases life expectancy and provides fine health to the consumer. And we want to encourage local consumption of cocoa because of the health benefit that comes with it, aside being one of the wealth of the nation, the COCOBOD CEO argued.

Government does not want cocoa to be a seasonal crop, as it is a living gold that cannot be depleted if proper care and management are put in place, subsidized fertilizers are on the way coming beside the pollination exercise and mass spraying, Mr Aidoo said.

Black Pod Disease

At the Marbang Cocoa Research Institute in the Ahafo-Ano North District, the COCOBOD boss said since the supply of improved seedlings to farmers is crucial in sustaining cocoa production, COCOBOD was in the process of developing new seedlings that could withstand the Black Pod disease, popularly called Phytophthora Megakarya.

There is a breeder that takes 18 months for harvest and I am encouraging the youth in particular to go into cocoa farming since it is lucrative business venture, Mr Aidoo said.

He disclosed that government was considering rehabilitating 40 percent of the cocoa farms within the C class category and had secured a loan facility from 0Agricultural Development Bank (adb) to undertake the exercise.

By Ghana Leaks Blog

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