A review of agricultural production in the Kwaebibirem District has shown significant increase in production levels of citrus and oil palm as against cocoa production which used to be the highest in the area.
The research conducted by Dr Joseph Adu-Kumi, Lecturer at the Presbyterian University (PUC), which examined the factors influencing the decisions of farmers to cultivate citrus and oil palm as against cocoa proved that cocoa production is declining.
Statistics show that about 8,000 families grow cocoa on approximately 1.6 million hectares of land in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions and the Kwaebibirem district was one of the major cocoa growing areas.
The research indicated that in the 1990s there was evidence of destruction of large acreages of cocoa by the swollen shoot disease in the district and that diminished the interest of farmers coupled with the ready market and profitability of oil palm production.
The research, noted that the decision by farmers to replace cocoa with oil palm or citrus were positively influenced by factors such as prices of inputs, profitability of oil palm, environmental influences and experience in cocoa farming over the years.
The research was titled: “Churns on the golden eggs, citrus oil palm or cocoa.”
Dr Adu-Kumi said the presence of Ghana Oil Palm Development Company also influenced the factors through resources and technical support to farmers.
He presented the research at a colloquium in Accra to showcase some of the research works of the PUC.
DR Adu-Kumi said farmers in the district were in a dilemma because with the ready market for oil palm, they had an alternative to cocoa farming.
He said although cocoa is a cash crop, farmers were faced with many difficulties such as influx of buying companies and the problems associated sometimes with the payment of their produce on time.
The colloquium was part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the PUC.
Reverend Dr Ayete Nyampong, the Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana said it is mandatory for research papers to be subjected to ethical clearance.
Professor Kofi Sraku-Lartey, President of the PUC said the academic facility attaches great importance to research and has therefore given annual research grants to lecturers and for the past few years could boast of 30 research publications.
He said last year, a research published by Dr Frank Arku was ranked by Taylors and Francis Group, a University of South Africa Press, to be among the top articles published over the world to commemorate the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought”.
The day was set aside by the UN to create awareness of issues with the implementation of the UN conventions to help combat desertification across the globe.
Other research works presented at the colloquium included Climate Change Impacts presented by Dr Frank Arku, Coping Strategies used by people living with Aids, by Ms Linda Akuamoah Sarfo, and Prince Osei Akumiah.
The rest of the research work were Overcoming Perceived Barriers of E-commerce to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Ghana, by Eric Amankwa and A Re-emerging Quality for Graduate Employability in Ghana, by Reverend E.Y Blasu.