The Asunafo North Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Eric Osei Aduamah, has given an upbeat assessment of Ghana’s cocoa sector, predicting that the nation could soon over-take neighbouring Cote d’ Ivoire to become the world’s leading producer of the crop.
He said there was every indication that the numerous government interventions – supply of high-yielding and disease resistant cocoa seedlings, distribution of fertilizers and mass spraying, had significantly revived the sector.
The farmers, he said, were already seeing some increase in crop yield and returns.
He was speaking when the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Dominic Sam, visited to inspect some cocoa farms.
The official of the world body was there to acquaint himself with the progress of its five-year project launched to mitigate the impact of climate change in the predominantly cocoa growing area.
This basically involve aggressive promotion of reforestation to protect and sustain the forest cover.
The project, started four years ago, has assisted a total of 2,066 farmers in 69 cocoa farming communities to plant 75,990 economic tree species.
Mr. Aduamah expressed discomfort about the unrestrained illegal chainsaw operation, which was destroying the forest reserves – Subin, Bia, Tano and Ayum, and warned that this could create problems and roll back the achievements they were making.
He said the municipality, which tops cocoa production in the region, was experiencing erratic rainfall, – a strong signal of climate change and applauded the UNDP for its efforts at helping to restore the vegetation to support cocoa growing.
Mr. Sam expressed satisfaction with the project’ outcome and hinted of possible extension of the funding.
He underlined the need for effective partnership between the COCOBOD, Food and Agriculture Ministry (MOFA) and the world body to fight climate change to boost production.