Ghana to diversify exports with coffee production – Mahama
In a bid to diversify Ghana’s exports, President John Mahama says plans are in place to increase Ghana’s coffee production from the current 6,000 metric tonnes to 100,000 metric tonnes per annum in the short to medium term.
The President during his state of the nation address, announced that five million improved early maturing and high yielding coffee seedlings are being raised and will be distributed freely to farmers interested in growing the crop.
Ghana’s coffee production has been relatively low in recent times and has not matched the high production achieved during the mid 1960s despite some initiatives to revive the sector.
According to the president, it was government’s support for a pilot coffee rehabilitation project by the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) in 2010, which resulted in a gradual increase in production to 6,000 metric tonnes in 2015.
He said the Cocoa Research Institute has developed a high-yielding variety of coffee which can start bearing within two or three years after planting, with good management.
Consequently, Cocobod is promoting coffee production in areas with less rainfall that are considered marginal for cocoa production. In contrast with cocoa, coffee can thrive in areas with less rainfall; about 1,200 mm to 2,000 mm of rain per annum but can also grow in areas with a minimum of 1,000 mm of rain per annum if supplemented with irrigation
Parts of the Volta, Eastern and Central regions as well as the transition areas of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, are suitable for coffee growing and the president said communities like Techiman, Wenchi, Bechem, Nkoranza, Atebubu, Kwame Danso, Drobo, Akomadan, Offinso, Mampong Ashanti, Kete Krachi and Dambai are being targeted for “aggressive promotion of coffee cultivation.”
“With an average yield of 2 to 3 metric tonnes per hectare and with a projected planting area of 100,000 hectares over the next six years, it is estimated that from 2020 onwards about 100,000 metric tonnes of coffee can be produced annually in this country which will subsequently increase to about 200,000 metric tonnes over the next decade.
“This number will be substantially increased annually to ensure that we achieve the 100,000 hectares of coffee farms in the targeted locations by 2020”, President Mahama said.
He assured that the efforts being made to increase coffee production will be backed with readily available marketing channels for farmers and coffee growing will coexist with the cocoa industry without sacrificing the interests of cocoa farmers.
By Emmanuel Odonkor