Information available to The Finder indicates that Ghana produced the largest volume of cocoa beans in history, exceeding more than one million metric tonnes with more than 10 weeks to go to the end of the season.
1,030,000 metric tons
Bean grading data from COCOBOD’s Quality Control Company observed by The Finder shows that at just two weeks into the light harvest season, the council recorded over one million (1,030,000) metric tonnes.
Even if the season is not over, it will be the highest production recorded in the country’s production history. This figure should be higher by the end of the season.
1,024,000 metric tonnes in the 2010/11 season
Prior to this new record, the highest production of just over one million (1,024,000) metric tonnes was recorded in the 2010/11 season.
Manifesto promise kept
This is a fulfillment of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) manifesto promise to push annual cocoa production above one million metric tonnes when it takes office in January 2017 under the presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo, using a series of new measures.
When contacted, the management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will not deny or confirm the record achievement.
The result of intervention productivity improvement programs
This unprecedented record is largely attributed to the intervention productivity improvement programs implemented by the board of directors.
The programs include a national policy of mass pruning, mass pollination and fertilizer that ensures that fertilizers are distributed through farmers’ cooperatives.
In addition, the introduction of various agronomic interventions by the government is helping to dramatically increase crop yields per acre in cocoa plantations.
Likewise, the introduction of mass pruning of cocoa plantations, hand pollination and the correct application of fertilizers to the tree crop, among others, have contributed to the increase in production.
The new policies also include the re-equipping and deepening of the Cocoa Disease and Pest Control Program (CODAPEC); streamlining the HI-TECH program to ensure equal access to fertilizers and other agricultural inputs; facilitate the formation of cocoa producer groups and cooperatives across the country, which have seen over 3,000 of them registered with the Department of Cooperatives.
It also involves the introduction of weedkillers and motorized secateurs, as well as a new policy and the strengthened cocoa rehabilitation program.
Hand pollination resulted in an increase in the number of pods of a single cocoa tree
Hand pollination has resulted in an increase in the number of pods borne by a single cocoa tree at a time. Thus, according to the COCOBOD estimate, a single tree could give a farmer nearly 32 kilos of cocoa, or half a bag.
Growing cocoa under irrigation is promising
Currently, the results of the cocoa farming pilot under an irrigation system are promising.
7,000 kilograms per acre
Farmers in the Northwest region involved in the pilot project are recording up to 7,000 kilograms per acre.
Harvest all year round
Aside from the fact that farmers get optimum yield under irrigation, they have the ability to harvest year round without thinking of an expansion that will contribute to deforestation.
Water is crucial for growing cocoa, and COCOBOD focuses on promoting irrigated cocoa production for farmers.
$ 600 million JICA, AfDB Facility
The Irrigation Pilot Project is Part of the USD 600 Million Syndicated Loan Activities of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance Initiative for Africa.
Rehabilitation of old and disease-infected farms
Initiatives under the facility included allocating funding to sustainably increase the fertility of cocoa plants and rehabilitate aged and disease-infected farms.
COCOBOD obtains ISO certification
The Quality Control Company (QCC), a subsidiary of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has received quality and global standards certification for the country’s cocoa products.
The ISO 17020 and 17025 certifications were acquired with the support of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Swiss government.
The new certification makes Ghana the only country in the region with such a high level of accreditation.
The cocoa sector accounts for 4.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) and contributes 25% of Ghana’s merchandise export earnings