Over the past year, ofi have continued to support cocoa farming communities in Ghana to protect and restore forests. Over 500,000 multi-purpose trees have been distributed to farmers, so they can be used to create agroforestry systems that restore land by planting fruit and shade trees alongside cocoa crops. This not only reintroduces tree cover, but also helps improve cocoa yields for farmers by providing sun protection for the crop and an additional source of income.
Alongside distributing shade trees and restoring forests, ofi is working with farmers to help them improve cocoa yields and further diversify their incomes. Along with partners, ofi have determined the living income benchmarks in each of our cocoa sourcing countries, including Ghana. To help achieve this, in 2021 40,292 farmers were trained in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), enabling them to master techniques like agroforestry and pruning to improve their cocoa yields and earn more from their crop. They also worked with partners to offer training in ways to earn additional income, from growing new crops to keeping livestock, so farmers can find other ways to support their families and reduce their dependency on cocoa alone.
In 2021, we spoke to Emmanuel Danso, 47, a cocoa farmer in the Twifo Ati-Morkwa District of Twifo Praso in Ghana. He owns an 11-hectare cocoa farm, but he’d struggled to earn a living income because the older cocoa trees produced low yields and were affected by pests and diseases.
But after taking part in training run by ofi, he adapted his farming practices to include pruning and setting up a shade tree nursery. This meant Emmanuel was able to grow his cocoa yield from 345kg per hectare to 710kg per hectare.
And by continuing to build on his success and technical knowledge, he further increased his yield by another 8% in 2021, up to 765kg per hectare. Emmanuel also set about diversifying his income. He acquired two additional farms in the last year and ventured into livestock rearing, with 350 chickens, 20 rabbits, and 35 sheep. This has helped him to grow his income even further to USD14,500, a 10% increase from what he earned the previous year.
“I’m now able to cover most of my household expenses including housing, transport, labor, health and education using the proceeds from my cocoa and other crops sales, as well as the livestock” said Emmanuel Danso.
Data on relevant metrics for all our activities are tracked on AtSource. Read more facts & figures about our work with cocoa farmers in Ghana in the Cocoa Forest Initiative Progress Report.