The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has launched the Climate-smart Cocoa Agroforestry Research in Ghana (CLIMCARG) project to enhance cocoa sustainability.

The project seeks to determine the climate-smartness of existing cocoa varieties, cocoa nutrition, shade trees as well as farmers’ perspectives on social resilience on cocoa agroforestry.

It is meant to improve yield, income and adaptation in cocoa landscapes in Ghana.

The principal investigator, Dr. Victor Rex Barnes, revealed the project was birthed by some researchers through their interaction with cocoa farmers.

“The research was prompted by complaints from farmers and some scientists. We have seen that actually if we do not intervene, our cocoa will go away. Climate change issues are now all over the place; the effects are felt everywhere.

“The temperatures keep on increasing so it was important we did something to rather adapt ourselves within.

“At the end of the day, we will have a cocoa landscape across Ghana and beyond which are climate-resilient,” he said.

Cocoa gives jobs to approximately one million small-holder farmers in Ghana and contributes to about 10 percent of agricultural GDP.

The project is being implemented by the KNUST, University of Aarhus and University of Copenhagen both in Denmark in collaboration with Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana.

It will involve farms in Offinso municipality and Adansi North District and scientific laboratories in Ghana and Denmark.

The five-year project is supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through DANIDA Fellowship Centre (DFC).

 “So far, project areas, communities and farmer farms have been marked. We have done our genetic identification on the varieties we are working with.

“We have also procured 60 percent of the equipment we will be working with while we wait for some coming from abroad,” Dr. Barnes said.

Mr. Baal Kumi an extension officer at Brofoyedru district said “the project will help his Cocoa farmers who have been complaining of their cocoa seedlings dying out.”

Nana Amoako Opoku, a farmer at Offinso added the project will help resolve the climate–related problems faced by farmers.

“Most of the cocoa trees are becoming yellowish since my zone is bounded by the savannah region. The project is very good for me because of the location of my farm,” he said.

The project will involve 5 PhD students and 2 Masters Students.