Ghana is the second leading producer of cocoa in the world after Côte d’Ivoire.
However, in recent times, engaging in sustainable cocoa farming while mitigating the effects of climate change has been difficult for many farmers to practice, a situation which some fear could affect Ghana’s cocoa production levels.
In line with this, the United Kingdom (UK) which has been supporting some Ghanaian farmers in practising sustainable farming, wants the Ghana government to provide additional livelihood options to farmers in order to promote their resilience against climate change.
During a visit by the UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the Cop26 Presidency who is also the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, Anne-Marie Trevelyan at a cocoa farm at Kona in the Ashanti region, she stressed the need for cocoa farmers to engage in sustainable practices.
The United Kingdom, UK, has thus been supporting some farmers in the sub-region on the need to adopt best practices.
Speaking to Citi News, Victoria Duah, West and Central Africa director for the partnership for forest programs funded by the UK government, urged the government of Ghana to support farmers to grow their cocoa in a sustainable manner.
She added that farmers should be provided with additional livelihood options to promote their resilience to climate change.
“I would ask that government provides greater support to farmers to grow their cocoa in a sustainable manner, whilst providing additional livelihood options to these farmers in order to promote their resilience to climate change. Additionally, there should be a greater effort at the community level and at the landscape level to protect forests”.
Agyen Brefo Donaldson, a farmer at Kona in the Ashanti region who has received support from the UK on climate change, has been recounting how it has helped boost his farming business. He is thus encouraging various farmers to adopt such practices to ensure sustainability.
” Looking at my farm, the soil type is sandy so if I don’t plant a lot of trees, all the cocoa will not survive. For a sandy area, we don’t plant cocoa. Even in the olden days, it was not done. If not because of the trees I have planted here, my cocoa plantation wouldn’t have lasted for even four years. It is the trees that are sustaining the business. It is advisable for every farmer to plant a lot of trees”.
Another cocoa farmer, Leticia Yankey, who is the founder of Cocoa Mmaa Cooperative Union, explains how engaging in climate-friendly practices has helped her and other women in their farming activities.
“We are doing agroforestry or climate-smart cocoa farming. That is where you plant cocoa and plant trees as well. The women groups have been educating ourselves and we are doing it as a form of additional livelihood. We are able to generate revenue from the sale of plantain that we plant in the cocoa farms. The trees too serve as firewood at times”.