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Acting Executive Director of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Dr. Emmanuel Nii Tackie-Otoo has stated that his outfit is embarking on massive rehabilitation of diseased and unproductive cocoa farms in the Western North and Eastern cocoa regions.
The effort is to treat Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) endemic farms.
He made the statement when he addressed a gathering of the management of CHED and some chainsaw contractors at the Bunso Cocoa College in the Eastern Region.
Dr. Tackie-Otoo added that the programme is being expanded to the Western South and Volta Cocoa regions until all cocoa growing areas are covered.
He noted that CHED dialogued with Chainsaw Contractors from all the cocoa regions of Ghana to consider the terms of reference and contract deliverables in the upcoming cocoa farm rehabilitation and treatment programme and to clearly consider the details of the cocoa rehabilitation programme.
The Acting Executive Director pointed out that CHED arranged the meeting between them and the chainsaw contractors to solicit for their ideas and to deliberate on matters that will advance the cocoa rehabilitation programme and above all increase yield.
“We are now ready to improve the conditions of your contract by paying GH900.00 per hectare to encourage you to do your best, which will in turn save the cocoa sector by eradicating diseased and moribund cocoa trees for better outcomes”, adding that, “COCOBOD will not place you the contractors at a disadvantaged position since this project to be engaged in will be a win-win situation’.
He stressed that the contractors should abide by the terms of reference as a means to ensure a smooth execution of the programme and also elicit prompt payment for work done.
The Principal Technical Officer, Enoch Kwame Afenyi, explained in detail the role of the two parties, COCOBOD on one side and, the Chainsaw Contractors on the other.
He noted that for a chainsaw contractor to qualify to part take in the cocoa rehabilitation programme, the business must be duly registered, own at least 5 chainsaw machines, must have registered the machines at the Forestry Commission and the District or Municipal assembly purposely for cocoa cutting and also employ machine operators and field supervisors.
The other requirements include; repair chainsaw machines when the breakdown, fuel the machines including the necessary lubricants, have the capacity to cut at least 2 hectares of cocoa farm per week demonstrate availability of enough funding to execute the job before COCOBOD makes payment for job done, and above all receive a contractual agreement from COCOBOD to commence work.
Regional Manager for Western South Cocoa region Owusu Ansah explained that CHED has analyzed the quantum of work to be done by the contractors per hectare before arriving at the stated figure earmarked for payment, adding that “We survey the farm, give reference number but we allot request you to start work, therefore every contract must come with a contract number that gives you warranty to commence work,” he concluded.