In the pursuance of resilient agriculture, a new technology, the Solar Powered Irrigation System, designed to supply continuous water to cocoa farmers throughout the year, has been introduced by Mondelez International under their Cocoa Life Programme.
The Solar Powered Irrigation System which has 3 components – boreholes that serve as the water source, solar power generation, and drips to supply the water to the farms – was aimed at enhancing the productivity of over 70,000 cocoa farmers under the Cocoa Life Program by ensuring the consistent supply of water to help reduce the impacts of climate change on cocoa production. The technology is expected to triple the annual cocoa yields of the country.
At the inauguration of the first pilot project of the technology at Otwebediedua in the Eastern Region, the Head of Cocoa Life in Ghana, Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, said that the new technology would ensure that cocoa trees get the required litres of water needed for high yields throughout the year. Mrs Amekudzi further explained that the latest technology would help resolve the problems of erratic and unpredictable rainfall which continues to affect cocoa production in the country.
“As an organization committed to helping cocoa farmers benefit from their work, and also ensure sustainability of cocoa production, we decided to undertake research on how other countries are able to generate enough water supply for their cocoa production”.
Mrs Amekudzi pronounced that the research led to the discovery of the solar powered irrigation system which has the capacity to supply 5,000 litres of water and further indicated that the pilot programme of the irrigation technology would cover 10 farms within the six regions where Cocoa Life operated.
“In all, we operate in 700 communities spread in 18 districts within six regions of Ghana. More than 70,000 cocoa farmers are under the Cocoa Life Programme”.
Mrs Amekudzi reiterated that her outfit is committed in supporting cocoa farmers in the country to improve their productivity and in effect improve their welfare.
“Since the inception of Cocoa Life as a cocoa sustainability programme in 2008, Mondelez International consistently worked with our partners, particularly cocoa farmers, to make cocoa production more efficient and sustainable”.
“With all the policies that Ghana COCOBOD is bringing out, supported by the private sector and cocoa farmers, Ghana can achieve one milllion metric tonnes of cocoa annually”.
Edward Kumah, a technical aide and member of the research team at Mondelez International posited that the introduction of the solar irrigation technology would help mitigate the risks associated with climate change. He explained that cocoa needs about 30 litres of water per day, and if the water requirements are achieved it would yield fruit throughout the year.
“When farmers purchase fertilizers and it doesn’t rain, it affects their productivity and ultimately their return on investment,” he said.
Mr. Francis Oko Lanquaye, the owner of the pilot farm, has described the new technology as efficient indicating that since it was installed it has tripled his annual cocoa production. According to him, he used to experience water difficulties due to climate change, which affected his annual yield.
”With this new technology, I do not have to worry about adequate water to supply my cocoa produce,” Mr. Lanquaye pronounced.
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