The Ghana Cocoa Board says it has put in place stringent measures to ensure that the 2020/2021 cocoa season is not negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to the regulator of Ghana’s cocoa sub-sector, farmers have been supplied with all necessary assistance to keep the production process on track.
Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo said farmers were being prepared to take advantage of the critical flowering season in May 2020.
For this, he said there would be a new emphasis on pruning.
In line with this, COCOBOD distributed 100,000 motorised pruners and slashers to cocoa farmers across the country.
“To get enhanced flowering, you have to prune. Over the years farmers have not been used to pruning… once the farm is pruned, immediately production more than doubles.”
“We are scaling pruning to all farms. It is the first in the history of Ghana’s cocoa that we are having this mass pruning across the whole country. That is the reason we brought in the mechanized pruners.”
Mr. Aidoo is hopeful that these, among other interventions, will “impact positively on the industry.”
Though most sectors of the economy have taken a hit because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, COCOBOD downplayed suggestions that the producer price of cocoa may fall as a result.
COCOBOD in 2019 increased the producer price of the beans from GHS7,640 to GHS8,240 per tonne.
With the global fight against COVID-19, most international trading commodities have seen plummeting prices with cocoa also being affected.
The sector is currently in line to benefit from a $600 million dollar loan facility from the African Development Bank.
The agreement for the funds was signed in November 2019, but the money is yet to hit the accounts of the Bank of Ghana, due to procedural arrangements.