News Feb 19, 2016 09:18 AM EST

Massive cocoa production will revive struggling economy of West Africa

By Staff Writer

Experts of African economy believe that the growing cocoa production will help the West African countries to recover from the flagging economic condition. Many economists have requested the government to focus more on the cocoa harvest. Nigeria, a West African nation, is considered to be the largest contributor to Africa's economy with more oil deposits that have attracted many to invest in the country.

THIS DAYLIVE quoted Mr. Edward George, the leader of research sector at Ecobank, who advised the West African nations including Nigeria to benefit from the growing cocoa production in order to boost their economic conditions. According to him, West Africa needs to pull 70% in cocoa production in order to expose its smartness to the world.

There is a growing demand for organic cocoa globally, however market experts estimates deep shortage in the supply market and urges cocoa farmers to apply organic farming. The producers can yield nearly 300 - 500 Kg of cocoa a hectare from an organic soil, while in agrochemical farming, farmers can harvest nearly 0.7 - 1.5 metric tonnes a hectare, as reported in FOOD

However, high incentives are required for the farmers to change to organic farming. Sako Warren, International Cocoa Farmers Organisation's secretary general, said that small farmers in West Africa needs to borrow more money to possess an organic farm, which ultimately end up in poverty. Cocoa growers need to get raw materials at low price or for free to gain from the cocoa bean harvest. The prices of cocoa closed higher on Wednesday commodity trading market.

Meanwhile, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a New Patriotic Party nominee for presidential election, has pledged Ghana cocoa farmers that he will bring huge renovation in the cocoa farming department. He promised farmers of high prices for their agricultural products, which will be higher than the NDC government level. Akufo-Addo also ensured that cocoa farmers' children will be given COCOBOD scholarships and other benefits.

Akufo-Addo also pointed out the achievements of President Kufuor government in the cocoa farming department. The government under Kufuor, who is also a New Patriotic Party flag bearer, was responsible for the increased cocoa production of around 700,000 metric tonnes during the period 2003 - 2004. The production of cocoa reached its peak of 1 million metric tonnes during 2010 -2011, the GhanaWeb said.

According to Akufo-Addo, these improvements in cocoa sector were erased under the administration of President Mahama. It seems that politicians in West African countries try to overcome each other by making pledges on the improvements of cocoa farming sector.

West African nations are battling many challenges including the fall in crude oil prices. Massive improvements in the cocoa farming sector will make their fundamentals strong.

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