The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is set to roll out an irrigation programme for farmers in cocoa-growing areas to ensure an all-year round water supply for their farmlands in a bid to increase yield.
The move has become necessary following drought in those areas, resulting in the withering of most of the cocoa trees, stunted growth, and low yield.
Mr Joseph Boahene Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, announced this to cocoa farmers at Kumikrom in the Western North Region at the start of a two-day working tour to some farms.
The tour afforded the CEO and other officials the opportunity to inspect rehabilitation works by the farmers.
Mr Aidoo said in addition to the introduction of the irrigation system, farmers must apply the droppings of fowls around their crops to serve as organic fertilizer.
He said a well rehabilitated farm with irrigation could fetch 1,809 pods on one tree, which would yield 40 bags of cocoa pods per acre to improve their living conditions.
He hinted of a shortage of fertilizer in the coming months due to the Russia-Ukraine war so COCOBOD had decided to engage farmers to adopt best practices to increase productivity.
The CEO commended the farmers for the massive pruning of the threes and advised them to minimise the planting of cassava to intersperse their farms.
He cautioned against the use of unfriendly farming practices such as the application of unapproved chemicals on the cocoa trees.
Mr Frank Amamoo Antwi, the Sefwi Bekwai District Officer of COCOBOD, said farmers had treated a sizeable number of hectares through pruning, weeding and pollination with the help of the 1,030 rehabilitated farmhands in the district.
Mr Antwi said the cooperative farmers association, made up of 91 workers, each cultivated four acres of land .
The COCOBOD had also distributed 162,800 plantain suckers and cocoa seedlings to farmers recently and commended the Board for the intervention to boost cocoa production in the area.