GHANA – The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will invest US$600 million into the cocoa sector in a way to revive the industry in the country, GNA reports.

Making the announcement, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD said the board had almost finished negotiations to secure the credit facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to invest into the cocoa sector and increased national cocoa production.

The board is looking to rehabilitate cocoa farms and undertake irrigation projects in some cocoa farms in the country.

In a bid to achieve economic diversity, key stakeholders in the industry are keen to promote economic diversity through interventions in the cocoa, cashew and coffee sector.

According to him, more than 10,000 hectares of over-aged cocoa farm, which were yielding low pods, would be cut down and re-planted; one of the ways to address challenges including pests, diseases, land use, and illegal mining activities.

As a result of the challenges farmers in various parts of the country are fond of uprooting their cocoa trees, switching to alternatives such as cashew and rubber production.

Aidoo noted that the situation had reduced the country’s annual cocoa production, hovering around 745,000 metric tons.

The cocoa regulator has also rolled out several interventions, including pollination, mass pruning exercise as well as deepened the cocoa mass spraying exercise to minimise pest infestation and insect attacks and to resuscitate the sector as well.

The Combine effect, Mr Aidoo added was to enhance productivity, which had moved farmers from yielding three or four bags to 20 bags on the same farm land.

He reiterated on the need to invest huge resources in the sector especially empowering farmers who have always felt demotivated especially when prices fell in some instances.

In the recent past, COCOBOD has initiated various interventions and ‘best agronomic’ practices to boost the sector.

It unveiled to introduce use of organic fertilizer on cocoa farms in a bid to increase yields and production.

The parliament recently approved COCOBOD’s US$1.3 billion trade finance for cocoa.