In line with our objectives to dominate the local market through our all-inclusive farm management services and our farmer oriented sustainable agriculture programs, KGIL was well positioned to offer our services under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program being run by the Cocoa regulatory body, Ghana Cocoa Board. The level of impact achieved through the service provision under the program has been unprecedented.
A research commissioned by the Ghana Cocoa Board indicated that the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) had attacked most of the cocoa farms, rendering the efforts of cocoa farmers futile while putting the longevity of the cocoa industry at risk. The only solution was to cut down the diseased cocoa trees, to stop the spread of the virus into unaffected areas and to replant the farmlands that had been cut. The difficulty was educating the cocoa farmers whose livelihoods were to be affected by the rehabilitation program on the long-term benefits of the program and the importance of allowing their cocoa trees, their main source of income to be replanted. It was important to consider all alternative means of sustenance for the affected cocoa farmers.
KGIL partnered with Afarinick Company Limited, an indigenous company to scale up the service delivery under the program. The two indigenous companies are comprised of management teams with in-depth experience of the dynamics of the cocoa industry in Ghana and have been able to accumulate the technical knowhow to deliver on the targets set under the program. From the onboarding of technical men to highly motivated staff, both companies have excelled in the delivery of their services. The projects under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program is categorized in two parts, the first being the production of quality cocoa seedlings and the second ranging from the varied farmland management services that both companies offer.
Plantain Seedling Nursery
Nestled in the heart of the Western North Region and spanning over 400 acres of land, KGIL and ACL have established what is now commonly referred to as Ghana’s largest seedling production center. With a team of experts in the multiplication of plantain seedlings, the nursery has the capacity to produce over 100 million plantain seedlings, with room for diversification into the production of other seedlings.
Plantain trees are well known for the protective cover they provide for cocoa seedlings as the canopy plantain provides closes after about 5 to 6 months of planting. The large branches protect the cocoa seedlings from the damaging sun rays. Aside the protective cover they provide, cocoa seedlings also benefit from the water stored in the stems of plantain trees.
One of the key considerations for the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program was to ensure that the affected farmers had alternative means of earning some income while their farms were being rehabilitated. Plantain provides a unique opportunity in that regard. The produce of plantain can be harvested as early as 9 months after planting. This means that within the wait period from when the cocoa seedlings are planted to when the cocoa trees start fruiting, the beneficiary cocoa farmers have alternative produce which will be ready for sale on the market 9 months after planting.
Distribution of the plantain seedlings has commenced from the nursery to beneficiary farms within the Western North Region.
Diseased Cocoa Tree Cutting
KGIL provides a wide array of farm management services from land preparation to planting and maintenance of farms. Under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Program, KGIL provides tree cutting, arboricide application, land preparation, lining and pegging, holing, planting, and farm maintenance services. KGIL has a staff strength of over 1000 personnel ranging from technicians to operators. All staff are provided with the necessary protective garments to ensure their safety during the delivery of their tasks.
At the start of the cutting project, KGIL faced a lot of resistance from cocoa farmers with affected cocoa trees. This necessitated education of cocoa farmers on the CSSVD, the importance of stopping the spread and the benefits of replanting their cocoa farms hammering on the potential yield capacity of the new cocoa trees as compared to the yields of the diseased and old cocoa trees. The beneficiary farmers are provided with some compensation for the rehabilitation of their farms.
To ensure efficiency in the delivery of their tasks, all our staff are taken through mandatory capacity building trainings. They are then equipped with the proper equipment and provided with protective garments to reduce the risk of injury to their person while at work.
Between KGIL and ACL, over 4000 people have been employed. The nursery in particular, has been a joy to witness as over 65% of the employees are women from Dadieso and its environs, most of whom can attest to the knowledge transfer they have gained from working with both companies. In the next few years, there will be a lot of local folks who will own plantain plantations because they have learnt how to multiply the plantain suckers into millions of seedlings. Through our projects, we have been able to empower women and the youth in the communities, provided daily sustenance for many families and boosted the economies in our operational areas.