Cocoa is currently Ghana’s major export commodity and cash crop earning the Country an income of 2.5 Billion US Dollars annually.
Cocoa production does better in Ghana’s forest agro-ecological zone such as the Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Central, Western North and Western Regions. Because in these zones, there is a humid tropical climate, a rainfall between 1500-2000mm, and a short dry season of about four months. More over, cocoa trees thrive in these zones due to the shady nature of the environment.
Unlike the southern part of Ghana, the soil structure and fertility, and climate conditions of the northern part of the Country do not favour the productive growth of Cocoa due to the zones’ drought conditions and very low rainfall.
The cocoa trees grown in this sector of the country either do not survive or result in very low yield.
The prevailing constraints have therefore served as a deterrent to the many in the northern part of the country who want to venture into this cash crop production which dominates the agricultural sector and contributes to about 30% of the country’s export earnings.
Fortunately, stories of struggles of some farmers in the northern sector and other parts of Ghana that do not favour cocoa production, such as that of Inusah Fuseini and Issah of Zubzugu District, Northern region; Apamzebilla Azurago Alituba of Bawku West District, Upper East region, among others, who want to use cocoa production as a means to alleviate poverty can be encouraged due to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (MoFA) initiative under the Planting for Export and Rural Development module (PERD) to promote six (6) other major cash crops, namely; Cashew, Oil Palm, Shea, Coconut, Mango and Rubber, of which, they will benefit from.
The PERD will see to the set up of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) to oversee the production, marketing, processing and exportation of the six major tree crops. The Authority, which is the legal product of the PERD, in furtherance, is expected to lead the agenda of the diversification of the Country’s agricultural export commodity industry from the over reliance on cocoa.
Moreover, with the potential of the selected tree crops, Ghana could soon generate approximately 15 Billion US dollars with each fetching the country approximately 2.5 Billion US Dollars annually from 2028 onwards. It is also expected to reduce poverty and North-South migration.
Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) was inaugurated by the President in Kumasi on the 29th September 2020. It is one of the great visions of the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, which falls under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), a module of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Policy.
Hhhmm, May God be praised always.