The Minister nominee for Environment Science and Technology, Dr Kwaku Afriyie has said there is a lot of potential in mixed crop methods of farming which Ghanaian farmers can benefit from.The nominee speaking during his vetting today, Friday, February 19, 2021, said despite the advantages of monocropping which is a very prevalent farming practice in the country, mixed cropping on the other hand offers a lot of opportunities for farmers.
Addressing a question on innovations that can be adopted to improve the welfare of cocoa farmers especially during their off-season, the nominee said despite the many innovations available to ensure active cocoa cultivation throughout the year, there is a need for farmers to adopt the cultivation of other crops.
“Mr Chairman, Ghana has mimicked or copied mono-crop farming but we have an opportunity to do mixed farming or intercropping. I do not pretend to be more agriculturist than the experts but I can tell you that personally I’ve been doing mixed farming and I notice that SSVD does not affect my cocoa trees. For example, I intercrop cocoa with nutmeg and then black pepper and rubber,” the nominee stated.
Speaking of the benefits, the nominee told the committee that he earns fifteen times more from nutmeg farming than what he would usually make from his cocoa farms and that has helped him rake in more income.
“You can harvest them and earn income all throughout. So right now, per acre basis, I earn more from nutmeg than cocoa, in fact about fifteen times. A bag of cocoa will fetch me GHC650 but nutmeg they come from Techiman to come and buy and it's about GHC9,000 per bag,” the former Western Regional Minister revealed.
According to Mr Afriyie, Ghanaian cocoa farmers have been grappling with Cocoa swollen shoot virus disease because much attention has not been given to multi-crop cultivation.