Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo says results from the pilot of cocoa cultivation under an irrigation system are promising.
He said already, farmers in the Western North Region involved in the pilot were recording as high as 7000 kilograms per acre.
Mr. Aidoo said this during a field trip to a cocoa farm in Suhum in the Eastern Region as part of a working visit of Madam Simonetta Sommaruga, Federal Councilor of Switzerland.
Madam Sommaruga, who was the Swiss Minister for Environment, Traffic, Energy, and Communications, was in Ghana as part of a two-nation tour of Africa, which also took her to Senegal.
The visits offered her the opportunity to familiarise herself with actors in the cocoa production value chain including; farmers, aggregators, and CFI/SWISSCO platform companies.
Companies including; Nestle, Barry Callebaut, Glander Yara Glover, FairAfric, and Lindt took turns explaining their programmes and operations to Madam Sommaruga.
Mr. Aidoo noted that aside from farmers achieving optimal yield under irrigation, they stood the chance of harvesting throughout the year without thinking of expansion that would contribute to deforestation.
He observed that water was crucial for cocoa farming and that COCOBOD was focusing on pushing for cocoa production under irrigation for farmers and called on development partners to join them in that venture to increase yields and improve livelihoods.
Mr. Aidoo said the irrigation pilot project was part of activities under the $600 million syndicated loan from JICA and the African Development Bank under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative.
The Chief Executive Officer stated that events under the facility included the allocation of financing to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility and rehabilitate aged and disease-infected farms.
Madam Sommaruga expressed the hope that the four-year strategy under the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the innovative Climate Cooperation Agreement signed between Switzerland and Ghana would protect nature and ensure sustainable development.
She said Switzerland and Ghana had enjoyed longstanding, good, and close relations over the years and that Ghana since 2002 became a priority country for Switzerland’s economic development cooperation and her two-day visit was successful and a memorable one.
She said her country would continue to support Ghana on its path towards a resilient, self-dependent future.
The Technical Director (Forestry) at the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Mr. Musah Abu-Juam said through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, 226,000 hectares of degraded forests area were restored with cocoa and 11,000 hectors of cocoa farms, rehabilitated with about 15 million cocoa hybrid seedlings distributed to farmers.
He said more than 60,000 women and youth received training in good Agronomic Practices and participated in focused projects.