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Farmers break cocoa pods in Ghana's eastern cocoa town of Akim Akooko September 6, 2012. World cocoa prices hit 10-month highs this week on uncertainty over the West African crop, which in Ivory Coast and Ghana is marketed during a year-long season beginning in October, though prices remain well below heights reached last year during Ivory Coast's war. Picture taken September 6, 2012. To match COCOA-WESTAFRICA/ REUTERS/Kwasi Kpodo (GHANA - Tags: AGRICULTURE BUSINESS COMMODITIES FOOD) - RTR37MLA

Government targets 1.5 million tons of cocoa production in four years

Government has hinted of increasing its cocoa target from one million tons to 1.5 million metric tons of cocoa within the next four years.
Government is confident the target can be met due to some new strategies it has implemented.
The announcement comes on the back of dwindling world market price of cocoa.
The government had earlier set a target of one million metric tons but the target is however yet to be met.
In an interview with Citi Business News, Chairman of the Board of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu Agyemang said the new target forms part of a strategy to revitalize the cocoa sub-sector.
“The aim of the new administration is to overcome challenges in the cocoa sector to increase productivity. It is our objective to achieve a targeted of 1.5million tons in the next couple of years. Specifically, the time frame is doable within the next three to four years.” he said.
He further revealed some steps with which they intend to achieve the target.
“The achievement of this projection is dependent on a number of factors including Soil fertility management, pests, and diseases control, artificial pollination of farms, payment of remunerative producer price, quality of planting materials, the adoption of irrigation on farms and replanting of over-aged cocoa farms.” he stated.
On fertilizer, he maintained that COCOBOD is revamping its high-tech programme by subsidizing fertilizers, thus both liquid and granular for farmers to address the soil fertility problems.
“We are mindful of the fact that fertilizers supplied to farmers in the past have allowed a blanket formula with a rate of application to 150kg per acre, regardless of soil type and agro-ecological conditions. Although the blanket fertilizer formulas lead to significant yield increase, especially in the second and third years of application, they are not supportive of sustainable cocoa production because they fail to account for the inherent characteristics of the various soil groups of the cocoa landscapes” he added.

Source: citibusinessnews.com

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