The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) has made available 100,000 cocoa seedlings for distribution to some 25 farmer groups in the Eastern part of the country to help boost cocoa production.
Added to that were 30,000 ‘emire’ tree seedlings to provide shade and protect the young cocoa plants, the Institute announced via a statement on Wednesday.
According to CRIG, the distribution of the seedlings forms part of activities marking the 80th-anniversary celebration of the Institute located at Akyem-Tafo in Ghana’s Eastern Region.
Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, Deputy Chief Executive of Cocobod, said the seedlings are early fruit-bearing – and would start fruiting within 18 months.
They, however “have the same quality as the old type brought by Tetteh Quarshie,” he added.
He pointed out that the tree seedlings apart from helping the cocoa plantation to thrive will also bring money to the farmers – when extracted as lumber.
Dr. Ampomah advised farmers to ensure best farm practices and clear their farms of weeds.
CRIG was established as a central cocoa research station by the colonial government in 1938 to find the cause of the swollen shoot disease, discovered by a farmer at Akwadum near Koforidua.
It used to be known as the West Africa Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI).
The research station at the time provided service to all the English-speaking colonies of West Africa where cocoa was grown.
It was renamed CRIG after Ghana’s independence, while the other countries established their own cocoa research centers.
CRIG, according to its Executive Director Dr. Franklin Amoah, has outstations at Bunso and Afosu for cocoa, coffee and cola research. It also has another outstation in Bole for cashew and shea-nut research.
Besides these, the Institute has cocoa plantations at Mabang and Acherensua in the Ashanti Region, Worakese in Central and Wantram in Western.
These plantations have been providing raw materials for new products research and development.
Dr. Amoah said it has not only generated innovative research outputs in the cocoa industry but “now boasts a cocoa flavor laboratory, the first of its kind in Africa, to improve on post-harvest activities of farmers to guarantee high-quality cocoa in terms of flavor”.
Mr. Eric Kwakye-Darfuor, the Regional Minister, said CRIG’s contribution to the growth of the cocoa industry had been enormous.
The Tafohene, Osabarima Adusei Peasah, appealed for the government to do more in tackling bad cocoa roads.