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Cocoa Life Programme introduces technology to boost production

Implementer of the Cocoa Life programme, Mondelez International, has introduced a new technology that seeks to help triple annual yields of cocoa production in Ghana

To mitigate the effect of climate change on cocoa production in Ghana and help triple the country’s annual yield, a new technology designed to supply yearly continuous water to cocoa farmers has been introduced by Mondelez International, implementer of  the Cocoa Life Programme

The technology, called the ‘Solar Powered Irrigation System’, is designed to mitigate the effects of climate change by supplying a consistent water supply throughout the year to over 70,000 cocoa farmers under the Cocoa Life Programme.

With this new technology, cocoa farmers will be able to produce throughout the seasons and will not have to wait for rainfall to determine their annual yields.

Speaking at the first pilot project launch of the new technology at Otwebediedua in the Eastern Region, the Head of Cocoa Life Programme in Ghana, Mrs. Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said the new technology will ensure that cocoa trees get the litres of water needed for high yields throughout the year.

Why the technology

Explaining why the new technology was introduced, she said cocoa farmers have over the years complained about the erratic and unpredictable rainfall that continues to affect cocoa production in the country.

As an organisation committed to helping cocoa farmers benefit from their work, and also ensure sustainability of cocoa production, we decided to undertake research on how other countries are able to generate enough water supply for their cocoa production,” Mrs. Amekudzi said.

The research, she emphasised, led to discovery of the solar powered irrigation system that has the capacity to supply more 5,000 litres of water hourly depending on its size.

Mrs. Amekudzi said the irrigation technology’s pilot programme will cover 10 farms within the 6 regions Cocoa Life operates within.

” In all, we operate in 700 communities spread over 18 districts within six regions of Ghana. More than 70,000 cocoa farmers are under the Cocoa Life Programme,” she said.

Mrs. Amekudzi said since the inception of Cocoa Life as a cocoa sustainability programme in 2008, Mondelez International has “consistently worked with our partners, particularly cocoa farmers, to make cocoa production more efficient and sustainable”.

She reteriated Mondelez International’s commitment to continue supporting cocoa farmers to become businessmen and women, and ultimately improve their well-being.

Mrs. Amekudzi added that “With all the policies that Ghana COCOBOD is bringing out, supported by the private sector and cocoa farmers, Ghana can achieve one milllion metric tonnes of cocoa annually”.

She said next year a multi-million-dollar factory to process cocoa waste will be opened, adding that “this will further boost the cocoa sector in the country”.

Cocoa production

A Technical aide and member of the research team at Mondelez International, Edward Kumah, said the introduction of solar irrigation technology will help mitigate the risks associated with climate change.

“When farmers purchase fertilisers and it doesn’t rain, it affects their productivity and ultimately their return on investment,” he said.

Mr. Kumah said Cocoa needs about 30 litres of water per day, and if the water requirements are achieved it will yield fruit throughout the year

The technology has three components: boreholes that serves as a water source; solar power generation; and drip-feeds for supplying the water to cocoa farms.

Farm owner

The farm owner, Mr. Francis Oko Lanquaye, described the new technology as efficient; indicating that since it was installed it has tripled annual cocoa production.

According to him, he used to experience water difficulties due to climate change, which affected his annual yield.

” With this new technology, I do not have to worry about adequate water to supply my cocoa produce,” Mr. Lanquaye said.

Copied from: B&FT news

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