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October 04, 2012

Ghana: cocoa drip irrigation to combat dry conditions?

 Cocoa is an important crop to the Ghanaian economy, but changing weather patterns that threaten reliable yields are a worry.

Tony Fofie, chief executive officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, has suggested that drip irrigation is being considered as a recourse, to reduce dependence on rain..

 “The rainfall patterns have actually changed, we risk losing cocoa in periods of drought. We are looking at sinking boreholes within very large farms where we can have drip irrigation for the plants,” he said.

Cocoa production for 2012/13 is forecast at 800,000 tonnes compared to the previous season's all-time high of more than a million tonnes. The drop is partly attributed to less favourable rain.

Most of Ghana's cocoa is produce by scattered small holder farmers, rather than on the kind of large plantations on which irrigation might be consistently possible. It would neither be quick or easy for drip irrigation to be a realistic resort for most farmers.

African Agriculture

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