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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ghana says to double cocoa output in eight years  

ACCRA, (Xinhua) -- New agronomic methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cocoa-growing will also enable Ghana to nearly double cocoa yields in eight years, stakeholders in a national cocoa rehabilitation program have said.

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and with support from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been implementing a shift from mono-cropping toward agro-forestry plantation-based practice.

Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, chief executive officer of the Forestry Commission, said on Thursday that the practice involved the planting of shade trees on cocoa farms.

Unlike in the past, when farmers extended the acreage of their cocoa farms annually in pursuit of more yield, “now scientific research has proven that even in a small one-acre farm you could even harvest more cocoa fruits than having five acres or six acres, provided you have the tree shades covering them,” he said.

This process, according to him, is in line with government efforts to reverse deforestation, which has partly been caused by farming, and to prevent the adverse effects of climate change.

“So farmers have now bought into this idea and the experiment that we have done is yielding dividends,” he added.

This, Owusu-Afriyie said, is expected to result in higher yields and higher incomes for cocoa farmers in Ghana.

Under a new rehabilitation program, the yield per hectare will move from 450 kg to close to 800 kg to render more income to farmers.

Ghana, the second largest cocoa producer globally after Cote d’Ivoire, produced over 950,000 metric tons of cocoa during the 2017/2018 crop year. Output is expected to maintain at the same level during the 2018/2019 crop year.

“Because we are going to be able to move from 450 kilos per hectare to about an average of 800 kilos per hectare, we can generate more value for the whole sector, which is going to be about 1.5 billion dollars annually, in about eight years,” said Louis Bockel, policy support officer at the FAO. 

             

 

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