Cocoa production in Ghana is dominated by smallholder farmers with small farm size of an average of 5 acres. However, cocoa continues to generate about $2 billion foreign exchange annually and contributes significantly to Government Revenue and GDP. It employs and provide livelihoods for about 800,000 families located in the seven cocoa regions in Ghana. However, the sector is faced with challenges of unsustainable production systems, poor management of soil fertility, pests and diseases, and variable weather conditions, resulting in low production and income levels and a threat to forest cover..
In response to the urgent need to sustain Ghana’s cocoa production and decrease its impact on the surrounding forests, SNV initiated the Cocoa Eco-project in collaboration with Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union (KKFU) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in 2013 for a 30 month project which completed in December 2015. Cocoa-Eco (Increased Cocoa Productivity for Improved Ecosystems Services) provides a solution to develop a sustainable cocoa intensification and diversification strategies for climate smart and land sparing cocoa farming systems.
The overriding objective of the project is to increase smallholder productivity for improved ecosystems services through identification and promotion of sustainable intensification and diversification strategies.
Increased productivity of 6,000 smallholder farmers from 400kg/ha to a range of 800-1200 kg/ha and to establish about 4000 ha of cocoa agro-forestry.
Project Scope and Geographical Location
The program had a target of 6,000 smallholder farmers located in selected cocoa growing communities in Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Western regions in Ghana. SNV led the coordination of the project of the partners (IITA & KKFU) and other key stakeholders among which includes local capacity builders, direct beneficiary farmers, private sector, government agencies, academic and research institutions.
* Trained forty-five (45) Kuapa Kokoo Internal Control System (KKICS) officers and 1,056 “Lead” farmers in GAP, ICPM and Occupational, Health and Safety management via Trainer of Trainer Approach.
* Both KICS officers and “Lead” farmers trained about 6,000 farmers at various clusters on GAP, ICPM and OHS which resulted in improving farmer’s professionalism and modernization on their farms.
* Establishment of about 4000 ha new cocoa agro-forestry farms as a result of the project.
* Sponsored “Kuapa Mbre” radio program to discuss topics on GAP, ICPM which reach out to wider farmer audience of about 30,000.
* Supplied 24,094 and 36,000 of hybrid cocoa and shade tree species to 705 and 210 farmers respectively.
* Established ten (10) young cocoa agro-forestry demonstration farms and adopted ten (10) matured cocoa demonstration farms to train about 6,000 farmers through Farmer Field School/Farmer Learning Group approach.
Knowledge development in the cocoa sector through various studies and findings which has the potentials to enhance learning and advocacy at both community and national levels. These research studies which were done in closely with IITA, KNUST, CRIG, CSRI-SRI etc includes but not limited to the following;
Quantifying the baseline carbon stocks and sequestration potentials in smallholder cocoa farming systems in the cocoa eco-operational areas
Tree Diversity, Crown Cover and Carbon stocks in Cocoa Agro-forestry
On Farm shade trees and Cocoa Yields
Tree tenure and share-cropping arrangement in the cocoa landscape
Potential of using cocoa husk as a nutrient compliment
Cocoa pod as a habitat for midges
Proof of concept of mirids control in Cocoa in Ghana.