Ghana Cocoa Board, has dispelled media reports, calling for an alternative for the cocoa mass spraying programme in Ghana.
According to a publication attributed to Prof. Peter Kwapong of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana risks losing up to 90 per cent of the current production levels, as a result of the destruction of pollinator insects of cocoa by the ‘Mass Spraying’ exercise.
But Ghana Cocoa Board in statement issued by the Public Affairs Department and copied to The Herald, stated that “detailed scientific research has been done on the programme over the years and the outcomes have shown that the mass spraying programme is not harmful to pollinator insects of Cocoa”.
It said, “Studies at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) have shown that the major pollinator insects of cocoa, the midges (Forcipomyia spp.) are not affected by the currently approved pesticides used in the mass spraying of cocoa”.
Additionally, “Studies in the 1960s and 1970s on foliar sprays with broad spectrum insecticides also showed no significant effect on pollination levels”.
More so, “Ecological impact assessment as well as effect of treatments on farmers and spraying teams is done continually in collaboration with Cocoa Pest and Disease Control Programme (CODAPEC) Secretariat” adding, “ this has not revealed any negative effects of COCOBOD approved pesticide treatment on yields”.
Ghana Cocoa Board disclosed that “Positive effects of ‘Mass Spraying’ on yields have been recorded. The two major production peaks of 566,000 tonnes in 1964/65 and over 735,000 tonnes in 2004 coincided with the periods when government intervened to help address the problems of pests and diseases through ‘mass spraying’. The country has since then consistently achieved increased cocoa production levels with 896,000 metric tonnes recorded in the 2013/2014 cocoa season”.
The statement assured that “COCOBOD is committed to sustainable cocoa production and ensures that the environment is protected at all times through the implementation of relevant projects and programmes in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Standards Authority, related government agencies and institutions as well as NGOs”.
“We will, therefore, continue to support farmers with research, extension services and other interventions to advance sustainable cocoa production in Ghana through the application of approved agro-chemicals”, it concluded.