COCOBOD to invest in irrigation facilities to increase yield
Ghana’s cocoa sector is set to benefit from irrigation facilities that will help increase yield.
This according to the COCOBOD CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, will ensure year-round production and harvest of the cash crop.
Even though the country has not paid enough attention to irrigation over the years, the country has still recorded high yields, especially in years with sufficient rains during the harmattan season.
A bilateral agreement on climate protection, signed between Ghana and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is expected to drive investments into building irrigated cocoa farms.
Cocoa farmers in Ghana, according to COCOBOD, have already exceeded the years’ target of 900,000 metric tonnes with a harvest of over 965,000 metric tons as of June this year.
The last time such a yield was recorded was the 2010/2011 season when the yield hit the 1 million mark.
That season also saw significant rains during the harmattan season.
Alluding to the above record, the CEO of Cocobod, Joseph Boahen Adu told Citi Business News on the sidelines of a tour to some cocoa farms and a chocolate factory, FairAfric in Suhum, that the government and its partners are considering investments into irrigated cocoa farms to ensure year-round production.
“It rained during the harmattan and because of that, farmers have been harvesting throughout the harmattan. Normally it is a dry season and farmers don’t get much of anything at all but because it rained during the dry season this year, farmers have harvested a lot of cocoa and that tells all of us that water is very important in cocoa farming. So this means that if we invest in water, farmers will be harvesting all year round. Unfortunately, we haven’t paid much attention to irrigation and that is what COCOBOD is trying to do now with help from our development partners”.
The COCOBOD/SECO delegation also visited an organic cocoa farm which is complying strictly with sustainable cocoa production practices in line with climate conservation protocols.
Addressing the media after a tour of the farm, the former President of Switzerland and Federal Councillor to Senegal and Ghana, Simonetta Sommaruga cautioned Ghanaian cocoa farmers to be conscious of the climate in their quest to increase cocoa production in the tropics.
“Ghana is a very important producer of cocoa for Swiss chocolate, and we appreciate that very much. We know that in Switzerland and in many other countries organic products are more in demand today, so it’s important that farmers farm in such a way. It will increase demand for such products.”
SECO on its part said Switzerland is committing 65 million Swiss Francs, translating into over 400 million Ghana cedis to help Ghana’s compliance with climate protection protocols.
Source: Ghana Business