A lecturer at the Agriculture faculty of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) says the time for Ghana to diversify into other cash crops is long overdue.
Prof. Simon Cudjoe Fialor who spoke to Bernard Buachi of www.rawgist.com in an exclusive interview explained the continuous dwindling of motivation for cocoa farming.
He said farmers’ income from cocoa has been going down over the years along with the prestige that came with being a cocoa farmer. He said cocoa is no longer the agricultural “gold mine” that it used to be.
“The income from cocoa is still ok but our analysis indicated that coconut is beating cocoa in terms of income. Cocoa used to be the top one but now there are fluctuations in cocoa prices on the world market. Coconut has become a health food and is in high demand by developed countries because of health concerns. So there is a shift from cocoa as the gold mine” he elaborated.
Prof. Fialor says lack of incentive for cocoa farming is so bad that; “For a farmer’s child to say that I want to remain a farmer, one will safely assume that he tried other options and did not succeed and hence that decision”.
He added that cocoa cultivation is still very labour intensive; another factor that makes it unattractive.
He concluded that many are still pursuing cocoa farming because they are stuck to the farms anyway and do not have much of a choice.
He concluded that it is not smart for Ghana to continue counting on cocoa as the “messiah” cash crop when coconuts, shea, cashew and coffee are in high demand all over the world.
He encouraged the government to lead the way in the diversification process as well as commission more research into these crops.
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