Charles Brefo-Nimo, SNV project co-ordinator, in front of the SNV office in Essam, Western Region Ghana
Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, but many of its cocoa trees are old or diseased. This results in lower productivity, which has meant problems for farmers and for the environment.
As cocoa trees age, they become less productive, forcing farmers to expand their lands in order to harvest the same quantity. Often this means cutting down other trees so they can plant more cocoa. In the far west of the country, farmers are already encroaching on the protected area of Bia National Park.
Every year, new cocoa farms are discovered in the forest reserve, which is home to hundreds of indigenous species including rare forest elephants.
Charles Brefo-Nimo, project manager at the Netherland Development Organisation (SNV), oversees a project that hopes to increase farmers’ income while protecting the forest.
“We are saying the farmers don’t need to expand their farms into forest area, but on their same unit of land they can turn around and make sure that they can have the best out of it,” he says.
During a 16-week participatory radio campaign on Winners FM, airing with support from Farm Radio International, farmers in Assam, Western Region, will learn how to replace their old and diseased trees with new seedlings. Listen to the audio postcard above to learn more.
They’ll also hear that planting more shade trees on their farms will improve production and keep their cocoa healthy.
The program is called Cocoa Mosem, which roughly translates from Twi as Issues on Cocoa. The weekly interactive radio program will give cocoa farmers a platform to share ideas and connect them with support provided by the government and by SNV.
Charles says better cocoa farming practices will revitalize the environment and communities.
“The local economy is going to benefit if farmers get more money out of their farms,” he says.
If the project is successful, the radio program could ensure the protection of a treasured forest for generations to come.
Cocoa Mosem is produced with support from Farm Radio, the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Forestry Commission of Ghana, with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety – Germany, through SNV. MIGHT FM recently started airing the participatory radio campaign.