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Kakaoanbau in Ghana
Image: Richard Ocloo

Greener, more productive cocoa in Ghana

October 9, 2020

Ghana's cocoa production is in decline, with aging cocoa trees and poor agricultural practices exacerbated by drought. But a Dutch NGO is helping to revitalize the sector.


Rethinking cocoa cultivation in Ghana

Project goal: Making cocoa production in Ghana ecologically sustainable and supporting small-scale farmers with microloans

Project scale: Altogether, more than 2,000 farmers have modernized parts of their land. More than half a million cocoa trees and 20,000 shade-giving trees have been planted

Project partners: Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and the German Environment Ministry's International Climate Initiative (IKI)

Project area: The project encompasses Bia National Park and protected forests in western Ghana

Ghana is the world's second-largest exporter of cocoa, after Ivory Coast. But in recent years production has fallen by around 30%. Aging cocoa trees, poorly managed plantations and drought have all played a role in the sector's decline.

The country exports around 850,000 metric tons of cocoa each year. Most of this is unprocessed, and will be turned into chocolate and other products in Europe and the United States. If production in Ghana continues to fall, this will have consequences not only domestically, but also for manufacturers internationally.

The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) is helping small-scale farmers in western Ghana revitalize their existing plantations so they don't have to encroach on the forest to expand their production. SNV is training them in climate-friendly cultivation, and the farmers have an app they can use to report illegal deforestation.

The Dutch organization is also helping them access microfinance products to see them through until their young trees bear fruit. 

Global Ideas reported on the project in early 2019. Now, we return to see how things have developed.

A film by Gerlind Vollmer and Richard Ocloo

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