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Constraints for future cocoa production in Ghana

Kongor, John Edem, De Steur, Hans, Van de Walle, Davy, Gellynck, Xavier, Afoakwa, Emmanuel Ohene, Boeckx, Pascal, Dewettinck, Koen
Agroforestry systems 2018 v.92 no.5 pp. 1373-1385
agroforestry, biodiversity, black pod rot, capsid, crop production, farm management, farm size, farmers, fertilizer application, issues and policy, prioritization, profitability, questionnaires, sampling, Ghana
To address the growing global demand for cocoa, sustainable intensification of its production in West Africa is considered crucial. This paper analyzes the determinants of cocoa productivity and profitability by smallholder farmers in Ghana to provide insights into challenges for future cocoa farming, which will guide the formulation and prioritization of tailored policies to address them. A four-stage sampling technique was used to select a total of 731 cocoa farmers from various districts in all six cocoa growing regions in Ghana. Selected farmers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The results show that cocoa productivity and profitability was very low with an average of 234 kg ha⁻¹ and Gh¢ 568 (ca. US$ 150) per ha, respectively. Farm management practices, namely control of capsid and black pod disease, fertilizer application and pruning, significantly (p < 0.05) influenced cocoa productivity. Capsid control and fertilizer application showed the highest impact on productivity. Farm size, however, had a negative impact, which implies that increase in farm size results in decreased smallholder cocoa productivity. Farmers should be encouraged to sustainably intensify farm management through controlling black pod disease and capsids, regular pruning and efficient application of fertilizer rather than focusing on excessive land expansion, which eventually hampers productivity and biodiversity.