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Revamping the Cocoa Economy (Part 1)

Before the discovery of the black Gold, agriculture was the main foreign exchange earner for some countries in West Africa. A lot of US Dollars, British Pound Sterling, etc were earned by Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D’Voire from this crop called Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa). Unfortunately,Nigeria has somehow neglected Cocoa because petroleum came.

Have a read of what the PLOS Journal say;
“Ghana is the second largest global cocoa producer with an estimated US$ 2 billion generated by export revenues in 2013 [1]. Cocoa is the main agriculture export product and sustains the livelihood of more than 800,000 small-scale households across the cocoa growing region of the country [2,3]. Over two million cocoa farmers across the West African sub-region are vulnerable to climate change [4]. Drought is traditionally one of the key climate change effects expected to negatively affect agricultural production [5]. The cocoa landscape in Ghana has experienced a latitudinal shift since early 1980s with more than half of current national cocoa production coming from the climatically more suitable areas of the Southwestern region that harbour remnants of the rainforest [2,6].

The relatively marginal areas of Northern Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions used to exhibit good climate suitability and produced more cocoa than the Western region prior to the extreme climate events in 1983/4 that resulted in severe drought and wildfires [2,7]. Cote d’Ivoire, the world largest cocoa producer, has also experienced a similar shift with such extreme climate event being a contributing factor to geographic shifts in production areas [8]. Such spatial and temporal variations in climatic events allow for the identification of farmers responses to climate change [4,8,9]. An increase in dry season maximum temperatures together with seasonal droughts are the main projected impacts of climate change within the West African cocoa belt [4,10,11]. The variability in current climatic conditions within the cocoa belt of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire has resulted in different levels of climate suitability [10]. Different types of climate change adaptation including incremental, systemic and transformative adaptation would be required at different locations within the cocoa belt of West Africa depending on the projected climatic changes [9]. Good to very good cocoa climate suitability is projected to continue shifting cocoa production to the more wet forest regions by 2050 [4,9,10]. A lack of available forest land for new cocoa farms in the wet regions and the potentially negative effects of climate change are foreseen as being part of the major constraints to sustainable production growth in the coming years [12,13].

There is a need to increase the adoption of climate smart technologies in cocoa to sustain its production [6,14]. Understanding the existing characteristics of cocoa production, perceived climate change and drought effects, income diversification and management of shade trees in cocoa growing systems in different climatic regions within the cocoa belt should be the first step toward the design of promising adaptation pathways [15]. Knowledge of existing cocoa agroforestry systems is important in developing interventions and tools to aid farmers with proper management strategies. A key determinant of farming systems is the variation of agro-ecological zones in which the crops are cultivated [16] and hence characterizing cocoa production systems along a climatic gradient becomes justified. Characterization of shade tree species in cocoa growing systems is an important component of the identification of existing systems [17]. This could support location and system specific adaptation since agro-ecological zones for cocoa are being altered by changing climatic conditions, especially in areas close to the forest-savannah transition zones [4]. In the context of climate change, shaded cocoa systems have been identified as an appropriate strategy for increasing resilience and improving agro-ecosystem functioning at plant, plot and landscape levels [10,12,13,18–21]. Although potential soil water competition between shade and cocoa trees in cocoa agroforestry systems have been noted as a potential limitation under marginal cocoa climate [22]. Lower yields have also been reported for agroforestry systems under relatively lower rainfall locations in the Ashanti region of Ghana [23,24], this could be compensated via income diversification. Consequently, the documentation of agroforestry systems distribution between agro-ecological zones is a necessary step towards identifying and optimizing climate change adaptation strategies.

The aim of this study was to characterize cocoa production, perceived climate change effect on cocoa production, income diversification and shade tree management in cocoa growing systems along a climate gradient in Ghana. The studied locations represented areas with projected future (2050) climatic suitability of medium to high, low to medium and low to non-suitable from the wet to the dry region respectively [10]. The first objective was to compare the regions in terms of (a) current cocoa production, (b) farmers’ perception on the effects of climate change and drought on cocoa production, and (c) cocoa farmers’ income diversification. Ultimately, our second objective was (a) to document the presence of shade tree species and their functions and (b) to characterize the existing cocoa agroforestry systems and their distribution along the climatic gradient. These objectives were based on the assumptions that location along a climate gradient greatly influences cocoa production, cocoa farmer income diversification and type of shade tree management by farmers.”

It is hoped that the government of Nigeria in conjunction with private entrepreneurs with soon revamp the Cocoa economy in Nigeria.

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OLADIRAN JOSEPH OYEWUMI ( DIRAN O.Y.E ) is a seasoned and dynamic minister of God. He is a preacher, singer and songwriter, an author, a crusader for social justice and an ambassador for peace. His songs, messages and writings will electrify you and take you to the realm of blissful atmosphere. His music will get you on your feet to dance,to rejoice, to reflect and to rekindle hope. His work of music speaks well of him as a dynamic, warm and energetic person.


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