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Cocoa Not Destroying The Forest - COCOBOD CEO   
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Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo (R)
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Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has expressed confidence in the well thought-out programmes rolled out by his outfit which are targeted at ensuring cocoa farming does not become a source of deforestation.
Cocoa farming has been described by some as a major source of deforestation; a tag Mr. Aidoo says he strongly disagrees with. To him, Cocoa is a forest crop thus cocoa farms on their own cannot cause deforestation.

He was speaking at a stakeholder meeting on Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) held at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra as part of the Prince of Wales' visit to Ghana. The Prince of Wales Foundation is spearheading the Cocoa and Forest initiative which was launched in London, March last year, and facilitated by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).

It is an initiative which seeks to undertake programmes that will ensure cocoa farming does not lead to the destruction of forest in cocoa growing countries.

The COCOBOD Chief Executive identified low productivity by farmers as the major reason why farmers have been pushing to acquire more land to plant in order to improve their returns.

He revealed that efforts are underway to reverse the worrying situation where farmers make about 450 kilos per hectare.

COCOBOD, he said, is currently undertaking productivity enhancement programmes such as hand pollination, mass pruning, early spraying and irrigation.

If the farmer is able to get more yield from the farm, why would the farmer want to acquire new land not to even talk about forest reserves to plant cocoa?" he quizzed.

Mr Boahen Aidoo also indicated that with the current on-going rehabilitation programme, farmers are sticking with their diseased farms instead of abandoning their unproductive farms to acquire new lands.

"...COCOBOD has been supplying forest trees to cocoa farms to serve as a shade for the cocoa farms... i sincerely hope this will go a long way to help boost carbon sequestration and also the cocoa farms," he added.

Mr. Aidoo, however, called on industry players to pay attention to off-forest activities such a galamsey which is devastating the land, warning that if it is overlooked, "when they (galamseyers) are done, what will be left to destroy might be the forest reserve."

He gave the assurance that COCOBOD will do all it can towards the successful implementation of the Cocoa and Forest Initiative.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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