Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has revealed that Ghana has lost over 500,000 hectares of cocoa farms to the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD), posing a significant threat to cocoa production in the country. Speaking at a partnership meeting of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) in Amsterdam, Mr Aidoo highlighted the challenges facing cocoa production in Ghana, including illegal mining and climate change, which exacerbate the decline in productivity and threaten the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
Illegal mining activities have led to deforestation, soil degradation, and water pollution, adversely affecting cocoa tree growth. Additionally, climate change-induced factors such as rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, and prolonged droughts further harm cocoa trees' output.
To combat the CSSVD challenge, COCOBOD initiated the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme in 2018. This program aims to stop the spread of the disease, restore unproductive farms, and enhance the livelihoods of cocoa farmers by replanting disease-resistant cocoa varieties and promoting good agricultural practices.
Mr Aidoo emphasized the importance of securing sustainable incomes for cocoa farmers, citing initiatives like the Living Income Differential and significant hikes in Ghana's cocoa producer price as crucial advancements. He called for industry-wide commitment to prioritizing cocoa farmers' sustainable incomes, backed by concrete actions.
Mr Yves Brahima Koné, the Director General of Conseil du Café Cacao, echoed the urgency of addressing these challenges, warning of dire consequences for the cocoa industry if immediate action is not taken.