President of Concerned Farmers Association of Ghana, Nana Opanbour Bonsu II has expressed dissatisfaction over the clearing of cocoa trees for the cultivation of rubber in cocoa communities in the Eastern Region.
He was speaking at an Agric Dialogue Series by the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalist Association (GARDJA) in Accra, and said that about 15,000 acres were marked to be cleared and that 375 acres of cocoa farms had already been destroyed.
He said the situation was worrying as cocoa farmers were being coerced by some chiefs to release their farms for the cultivation of rubber trees.
He added that the importance of the cocoa sector to the development of the country could not be over emphasized, because it remained the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and called for a stop to the practice.
“If we lose our cocoa there will be no life for Ghana as it is the backbone of the economy, not only providing food and jobs but also as commodity of export,” Nana Opanbour stated.
He urged stakeholders in the sector to come out with regulations that would protect cocoa trees from “such attacks”.
Emmanuel Opoku, Executive Director of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), encouraged farmers to register their lands and also develop the right type of planting materials that would help in the sustainability of their farms.
He also called on farmers to be abreast with new technology to enhance their cocoa farming business in the face of climate change and assured that measures would be put in place to halt destruction of cocoa trees.
Cocoa farmer Emmanuel Nodjo in the Brimiah community in the Eastern Region, said low incentives in the cocoa farming business was driving the youth away from the farming activities.
He said subsidiaries such as spraying support and fertilizers among others were unavailable and that distributions of chemicals should be channelled to appropriate quarters, so that farmers could have access.