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Tackling Climate Change to sustain Ghana’s Cocoa Sector

Ghana’s quest to recapture its previous position as the leading producer of cocoa in the world can be enhanced if stakeholders refocus their attention in dealing with the impact of Climate

Change across the cocoa growing areas, an official of the Forestry Commission has observed.

Mr Mr Emmanuel Antwi, Assistant District Manager, Begoro Forest District believes that the   cocoa sector can thrive if concerted effort is put in place to tackle the threat of climate change.

According to Mr Antwi, “Climate change is happening and the earlier we acknowledge and deal with it, the better for us. You and I can attest that the humidity in the atmosphere has reduced and indirectly it is affecting all plants and even human being as a whole .The temperature is very hot and we can say the cocoa tree is also affected.”

He added that, “The best way is to help incorporate the trees to serve as umbrella to block the excessive radiation from the sun.”

Mr Antwi was speaking recently at the 3rd edition of the Cocoa Dialogue Series organized by the   Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association, GARDJA with support from UTZ.

The Dialogue was held at Bonsu in the Eastern Region on the theme, ‘Cocoa is the backbone of our country and its sustainability is key.’It brought together stakeholders to discuss the best possible ways to sustain the cocoa sector.

Corroborating the earlier submission relative to the threat of climate change to the Cocoa sector, Mr Josephus Bannor, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture office in Atiwa also emphasized the need to focus attention on tackling climate change.

Mr Bannor told participants, “Previously, we used to have a lot of trees on our cocoa farms. That is not the case anymore. It is about time we returned to those times because that is how we can get adequate rains on the fields.”

He also advised farmers to change their old ways of farming and adopt modern methods of farming in order to boost production.

The Cocoa sector is one of the critical sectors of the Ghanaian economy and source of livelihood for over a million farmers. Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, and exports about 800,000 metric tons accounting for over 9% of the country’s GPD.

As one of country’s key agricultural crop, cocoa rakes in an estimated $1.5 billion in foreign exchange yearly, while the sector employs about 2 million people including more than 720,000 cocoa farm owners.

Dr. Francis Emmanuel Awortwi, Acting Head of the Environmental Science Department at the University of Agriculture and Environmental Studies at Bunso submitted that cocoa farmers play an important role in the Ghanaian economy and urged all to work to help sustain the industry.

“Cocoa is still the backbone of the country. So whether you are a cocoa farmer or not, we all need to take the necessary steps to make the industry better off,” Mr Awortwi counselled.

On his part, Mr Richmond Frimpong, President of GARDJA, called on government to pay attention to the cocoa sector, while urging cocoa farmers to come together and form a formidable front in order to help influence policies in the cocoa sector and ensure farmers get good prices for their produce.

 

 By Mohammed Suleman

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