Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has partnered with two indigenous companies to produce some 106 million plantain suckers in two years to support the government’s Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.

The two companies are expected to deliver over 100 million plantain suckers in two phases.

To help achieve the target and more, the two indigenous companies – Kumad Global Impact Limited and Afarinick Company Limited – have assembled top agriculture experts to help them tender the plantain suckers on a 400-acre land and aided by state-of-the-art technology.

The plantain nursery – reported to be the largest in the country – which started in December last year currently employs 900 permanent staff while also offering indirect employment to over 4,800 people and is located at Dadieso in the Suaman District of the Western North Region.

Under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Project, some 136,000 hectares of cocoa, affected by the Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (SSVD) have been destroyed.

Therefore, the plantain suckers are to serve as alternative sources of income for the farmers and provide shades for the replanted disease-resistant cocoa seedlings.

Chief Executive Officer of Afarinick Joe Forson said the companies are expected to produce some 35 million plantain suckers in the first phase of the project.

“The primary objective of this project is indeed to support Cocobod’s Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme. We become aware that Cocobod was getting ready to rehabilitate roughly 136,000 hectares of diseased farms. So, we approached Cocobod with the proposal that we have the technology, the expertise and resources to deliver plantain seedlings that will be used to support the rehabilitation programme. And as you can see, we are on course to deliver our first 35 million seedlings.”
Mr Forson mentioned that the two companies also aim at moving to other areas such as tree seedlings, oil palm seedlings, and all kinds of seedlings since they have the infrastructure to take on those initiatives.

“The current objective is to produce plantain seedlings. But our infrastructure is also designed to be able to adapt. So, we are capable of working on other seedlings. And we are ready to take on other challenges because we have the wherewithal.”

According to him, in a bid to gain acceptance in Sefwi, “we have begun initiating several social interventions which also look at sourcing our items from the community”.

“Sixty-five per cent of our current employees are women from Sefwi. We will also pursue a rigorous CSR project where the project’s ideas will come from the community.”