GHANA – Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has announced that it expects to increase cocoa production to one million metric tonnes as a result of combined efforts to improve crop yield, reported GNA.

According to Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, the Deputy Chief Executive, COCOBOD, the Board was also charting a new course that would enable it to achieve the one million tonnes within the five-year period.

The board is also considering the reintroduction of the Ghana Cocoa Platform meant to incorporate the activities and views of all stakeholders in the production, processing and export of cocoa beans.

Ghana being the second largest producer of cocoa after Ivory Coast, the platform is also aimed at adding value to the beans before it is exported.

The Ghana Cocoa Platform will support stakeholders to provide convening and coordination on technical issues beyond the topic of extension and into other thematic areas of the cocoa sector that would benefit from a public private partnership approach to cocoa development.

Speaking at a validation workshop in Ghana, Dr. Yaw added that reintroduction of the platform would go a long way in ensuring that the crop is produced in a more efficient and sustainable manner, which will position the crop’s production value chain more profitable and, increase yields and reduce wastage in the sector.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, said as part of the drive to increase production to the targeted one million tonnes, COCOBOD had introduced various interventions, including hand pollination, pruning and codapec, among others.

He mentioned that the pollination, combined with fertilizer application and the cocoa farms irrigation project is likely to restore cocoa production, adding that, through artificial pollination, per hectare yield of the crop could hit two tonnes from the current average of 400 kilograms.

During the 2010-11crop-year, Ghana produced an unprecedented one million tonnes of cocoa attributed to good weather and improved farming techniques though production declined to about 850,000 tonnes during last season same period.

The sector is affected by among other factors unstable market price and illegal small scale mining.

Calling for collective dialogue among industry players to help solve challenges, Richard Scobey, President of World Cocoa Foundation said, “No individual idea can solve the mirage of problems alone as this can be done through collaborations and partnerships.”