Life Returns To Abandoned Villages After Cocoa Farm Rehabilitation Programme

Cocoa farmers who were forced some two years ago by the ravaging impact of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) to desert their farms and hamlets in parts of the Western North Cocoa Region are beginning to return to their villages to resume farming.

This trend of farmer returns is being attributed, in the accounts of the returning farmers themselves, to the effectiveness of the cocoa rehabilitation programme by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in restoring their lands back to arable states, suited once more for cocoa farming.

Nana Samuel K. Tabiri, one such returned farmer, said after more than thirty years of cocoa farming at Pillar 34, a community near the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border, he had to leave his community because his farm was devastated by CSSVD.

“I lost everything to the cocoa disease,” he recounted. “Initially, I did not know that my farm was affected by CSSVD until my yield dropped to less than a bag during a crop year, then I realized there was nothing to live on.”

“But when later I was informed that COCOBOD had cut and replanted my diseased farm, I came back to see it and was happy to come back to stay on this farm again. They have also taken me as a member of the weeding gang in my own farm area and they are paying me every month,” he expressed happily.

Nana Tabiri’s account of the life-altering impact of the disease on his livelihood isn’t much different from that of another framer, also at Pillar 34, Madam Georgina Pommah, who is now full of gratitude for the intervention of the government and COCOBOD.

“I am just thankful to COCOBOD for restoring my farm,” she said. “My yield dropped to only two bags a year when the CSSVD invaded my farm a couple of years ago.”