Ghana’s cocoa industry, a cornerstone of the country’s economy, is facing a severe crisis. Production is expected

to decline by a whopping 40% in the 2023-2024 season, threatening the livelihoods of farmers and their families.Climate change was a major factor for the decline of coacoa production some years ago due to the rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns which were affecting cocoa yields, making it harder for farmers to produce the high-quality beans that Ghana is known for. In recent records, climate change has not been mentioned as one of the factors causing a decline of agricultural products.

In an interview with Mr. Issifu Issaka, a member for Ghana civil society and cocoa platform, he disclosed that, “Climate change’s contribution is minimal, as rainfall has been more consistent in recent years. The main issue is the poor farming system practiced by farmers.” He further emphasized that it’s because of the high cost of cocoa maintenance and supplies like sprays and other inputs.Cocoa crops in Ghana are struggling with various threats.

Diseases like black pod rot and frosty pod rot can destroy entire crops, while pests such as murids and aphids damage the beans and reduce their quality. Moreover, a lack of flowering, as noted by farmers which is hindering the development of cocoa pods, further complicating the industry’s challenges.

To make matters worse, Ghana’s cocoa farmers are aging, and there aren’t enough young people to take over the farms. This has led to labor shortages and reduced production.According to Mr. Issaka, “The sector is not attractive to youth, and they perceive cocoa farming as a last resort. They prefer other industries, like mining, which offers quicker financial gains.”

He again stated that the lack of attractiveness and slow financial returns are discouraging youth from engaging in cocoa farming.The consequences of reduced cocoa production are far-reaching. Cocoa is Ghana’s main cash crop, and a decline in production will affect the country’s economy. The government is under pressure to find solutions, but so far, none have been forthcoming.

Mr. Issaka emphasized on the need for government and other authorities to intervene and respond to their call for help, he said “The government and youth must recognize the importance of cocoa to Ghana’s economy and prioritize its development. Farmers should be paid well, and laws should be enforced to protect cocoa farms and farmers from illegal mining. The government must also ensure that cocoa-growing areas are protected from harmful activities.” He concluded that prioritization, support, and protection are essential to reviving Ghana’s cocoa industry.Mr. Issaka urged the government and agricultural authorities to take immediate action to address the challenges facing the cocoa industry, warning that if nothing is done, cocoa production in Ghana will continue to decline.