The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has implemented productivity enhancement programmes to improve the production of cocoa.
The programme which is being supported by government includes mass spraying against diseases and pests, hand pollination, mass pruning, fertiliser application among others.
Speaking at an award ceremony organised by Federated Commodities (Fedco) and Beyond Beans Sustainability Project, the Acting Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation for COCOBOD, Emmanuel Twumasi said that his outfit was guided by the realisation that threat to biodiversity was a threat not only to rural livelihoods and poverty reduction but also national cocoa production, revenue, foreign exchange earnings and the global cocoa economy in general.
He indicated that COCOBOD's strategy was to enhance the yield of its cherished cocoa farmers who didn’t necessarily have to increase their farm sizes in order to increase their income levels.
As stakeholders in the industry, he noted, "we owe it as a duty to ensure that Ghana's cocoa industry becomes sustainable.
"It's significant to note that the welfare of poor households can be achieved through transformation in agriculture which can help the poor overcome some critical constraints they face in their basic needs."
Mr Twumasi went on to state that by making cocoa production more profitable through the use of improved technology and high yielding seedlings, Ghana could contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Cocoa cultivation, he pointed out, provided a classic case of environmental sustainability since it had vegetative cover and therefore contributed to conservation of biodiversity.
Mr Twumasi mentioned that reduction in productivity provided incentive for farmers to abandon their farms and clear additional forestland where soil was higher.
Maria Adamu-Zibo, the Managing Director (MD) of Fedco also said that her outfit had embarked on a massive registration exercise of cocoa farmers with the aim of organising 50,000 farmers into sizeable groups in order to provide them with enhanced training on good agricultural practices and offer them financial advisory services including participating in village savings and loans scheme.
She further said that "we have to date registered about 15,000 farmers and trained about 2,000 of them.
"Just this year, we successfully raised cash loans and input credit in excess of Ghs2.6 million for qualified farmers from two financial institutions and some input providers."
The Fedco MD announced that its client, Ferrero had committed to pay cash premium to its Suhum/Anyinam and Tafo farmers on 2,000 metric tons (MT) of cocoa supplied in the course of the 2019/2020 main cash crop.
The award ceremony was meant for cocoa farmers in Suhum/Anyinam and Tafo.
The best male and female farmers were Yaw Aware and Salomey Darkwah of Suhum-Tafo.