Dutch Ambassador encourages Ghana to invest in irrigation facilities on cocoa farms


The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Jeroen Verheul has stated that Ghana has the potential to increase its cocoa production significantly of it could invest in irrigation facilities on cocoa farms.


He said with the increasing adverse effects of climate change on cocoa trees, it was imperative for stakeholders to step up efforts to extend irrigation to cocoa farms.

The Ambassador, on a three-day field visit to four regions to assess the impact of a Dutch funded project, made the call after visiting an irrigated cocoa farm at Punikrom in the Western North Region.

The seven-acre farm, which used to produce 30 bags before the installation of the irrigation facility is currently producing about 120 bags due to access to water all year round.

The simple but efficient technology installed by the COCOBOD with a repayment plan by the farmer appears to be the game changer that must be replicated in most cocoa farms as a strategy to increase yield.

This, according to the Ambassador, was the way to go not only to improve the income of farmers but also increase the annual cocoa production of the country.

The farmer is a beneficiary of one of the Rural Service Centres (RSC) established under the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP II) which is being implemented by Solidaridad and funded by the Dutch Government.

As part of the project, young entrepreneurs have established RSCs with support from Solidaridad as a private sector driven vehicle that provides services such as training and access to inputs and financing to smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and sustainability.

Solidaridad facilitates concessional financing for these entrepreneurs to build service centres to enable them to provide services to cocoa farmers in hard-to-reach communities

Accompanied by officials of Solidaridad, the Ambassador visited various project sites in Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo and Western North Regions to assess the impact of the project in beneficiary communities.

He also paid courtesy calls on the Regional Managers of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD which is a partner in the implementation of the project.

Ambassador Verheul in an interaction with the Western North Regional CHED Manager, Mr Kwame Owusu-Ansah underlined the need to link farmers to financial institutions to provide them irrigation facilities.

He said with flexible payment terms, the banks could recoup their monies and farmers would no longer suffer from effects of erratic rainfall and other climatic conditions.

With the establishment of RSCs to provide essential services to farmers, the Ambassador was of the view that cocoa farmers could produce more with the provision of irrigation facilities.

Mr Owusu-Ansah bemoaned the decline in cocoa production in the Region which used to be the hub of cocoa in the country and appealed to the Dutch government to help rehabilitate diseased and aged farms.

He said about 345,000 hectares of cocoa farms in the region needed to be rehabilitated but 20,000 hectares were rehabilitated last year.

He disclosed that about 17,000 youth had been engaged as Cocoa Rehabilitation Farm Hands in various communities for the rehabilitation exercise across the region.

By Yussif Ibrahim, GNA


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here