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A programme to transform the Kakum Cocoa Forest landscape into a more sustainable agroforestry area has been launched with a call on cocoa farmers to adopt climate-smart agroforestry practices to increase productivity.
Dubbed: Kakum Cocoa Agroforestry Landscape Programme,” with the motto; Our Forest, Our Cocoa, Our Future,” the programme is being implemented in two fringe communities of the Kakum National Park in the Assin South District.
The programme seeks, among other things to develop landscape governance and management system to raise cocoa productivity and promote shaded cocoa agroforestry, reduce deforestation and forest degradation and diversify and improve farm income for long term sustainability.
In an overview, Dr Rebecca Asheley Asare, the Programmes Director of NCRC, an implementing partner to the programme, said a research undertaken prior to the start of the programme showed that Ghana had serious challenges with afforestation.
She said the Hershey Company and the other implementing partners were committed to preserving the ecosystem, by planting trees across the farming landscape, and work to diversify and improve incomes of farmers.
Dr Asare said the implementing partners would engage in activities that will raise cocoa productivity through climate-smart cocoa agroforestry practices, and help reduce deforestation of natural forest ecosystem.
Mr Enoch Ashie, the Manager of the Kakum National Park, said the initiative would help improve land use in the Kakum conservation area, reduce land disputes and strengthen the relationship between the fringe communities and other stakeholders.
He urged farmers in the beneficiary communities to collaborate with the implementing team for a successful outcome.
Mr Oduro-Baah, a Senior Technical Manager of CHED of COCOBOD, said measures were being taken to curb deforestation and degradation, including pruning, hand pollination, rehabilitation and irrigation schemes, to balance cocoa productivity with forest protection.
Mr Emmanuel Boadi, an Assembly Member, and a sub-chief of Assin Kruwa, noted that climate change was affecting agriculture, especially cocoa farming, and expressed optimism that the programme would benefit farmers in the implementing communities.