Ghana aims to achieve an annual cocoa production of 1.5 million metric tonnes within the next four years through reforms, the industry said Tuesday.

Addressing the official opening of the West Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Conference, Chairman of Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Hackman Owusu-Agyemang said necessary measures, including hi-tech agronomy practices, were being put in place to reach this target.

“It is our objective to achieve a targeted 1.5 million metric tonnes in the next couple of years. The achievement of this projection is dependent on a number of factors, including soil fertility management, pests and disease control, and artificial pollination of farms,” Owusu-Agyemang said.

He added that the payment of remunerative producer price,quality of planting material, the adoption of irrigation on farms and replanting of over-aged cocoa farms would also support the attainment of the target.
Later at a press briefing, the chairman said scientific research had proven that the 1.5 million metric tonnes target was achievable within four years.

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He also urged the African and West African blocs to work together in providing and ensuring access to farm inputs for their farmers.

The four-day West Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference which attracted more than 250 agriculture business executives from 43 countries is the second special collaboration between CRU Events and The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) who aim to establish a series of forums focused on demand creation for fertilizer across Africa.

Namanga Ngongi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), said without adopting improved technology, Africa could not tap into the transformative power of agriculture to fight hunger and poverty.

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Almost 60 percent of the world’s arable lands are in Africa, yet yields were low because African farmers could not produce food surpluses with tools and equipment at their disposal, Ngongi lamented.

“They are constrained by poor rains and lack and access to better inputs, improved and resilient crop varieties, better farming methods and low uptake of other technologies to trigger agriculture enterprise. Value addition is the key we need to turn and open the door to Africa’s new agri-preneurs,” he stressed.

Since 2008, Ghana has implemented a Fertilizer Subsidy Program aimed at using fertilizer to boost overall crop productivity. Ghana’s new government has set the ambitious plans to continue investing in agriculture in order to become an agribusiness leader in the West African region. Enditem

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Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh