Exploring Opportunities For Enhancing Innovation In Agriculture: The Case Of Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao L.) Production In Ghana
An exploratory study was conducted to identify opportunities to enhance innovation in the cocoa sector in Ghana. The specific objectives were to identify the key stakeholders in the cocoa industry, and elicit farmers and other stakeholders’ perceptions on cocoa production and marketing practices, as well as the inherent constraints and opportunities. The study involved literature review of published information and the use of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools such as focus group discussion, problem tree analysis, seasonal calendar, and ranking techniques to elicit information from the respondents and purchasing clerks in the Eastern and Western Regions of Ghana. The problem tree analysis indicated that low cocoa incomes were due to low cocoa yields which were in turn caused by high incidence of pest and diseases such as capsids/black pod/cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD), declining soil fertility and use of unapproved planting materials. The seasonal calendar analysis indicated that most cocoa farmers were financially constrained, experience high labour availability and cost from May to July during which farm activities are high. Based on the study, researchers recommend that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) intensifies its efforts in implementing the opportunities such as crop/livelihood diversification, provision of crop insurance against risk, etc. identified to enhance farmers’ welfare and the development of the entire cocoa industry. Addressing these constraints requires collaboration among the various stakeholders in the sector, including the government, research and extension as well as smallholder farmers.