A GNA Feature by Yaw A.O. Ansah
Accra, Sept. 18, GNA – With a broad smile while working on a well pruned cocoa farm, Esi Attaa, 40, who hails from Twifo Praso in the Central Region, tells how her farm has been transformed over the past two years through the help of the Boame Scheme.
Auntie Esi says her yield has increased from a 100-kilogram bag of cocoa per acre to five. Previously, her farm was not in the best of shape and nearly lost her investment, but the managerial support from the Boame Scheme has made it very productive.
Visibly, the cocoa trees have good leaves, look healthy and have produced green cocoa pods, with all parasitic trees being cut.
Auntie Esi testifies that most women cocoa farmers often engage in other livelihood enterprises in addition to cocoa production, which often resulted in division of labour, time and resources among the different economic activities.
« In an event that the woman cocoa farmer has limited time and resources to invest in any other enterprise, the cocoa farm tends to be the least considered for investment, » she said.
The challenge Aunte Esi was facing was just one of the many issues in the sector. Although the country had gained the status as the second largest producer of cocoa, after La Cote D’Ivoire, it faces a management challenge including high rate of aged farmers, high cost of labour and inadequate supply of inputs.
Dr Yaw Osei-Owusu, the Executive Director of Conservation Alliance International (CA), says these challenges translate into inadequate labour and financial investments needed for the optimisation of the potential of cocoa farmlands.
Cocoa production is a major economic activity undertaken by more than 800,000 farmers. Improving farm management can help boost farm productivity and revenue of about two billion dollars in foreign exchange annually, and is a major contributor to Government Revenue and Gross Domestic Production (GDP).