Dry season temperatures likely to affect cocoa production in Ghana

Long and severe dry seasons might inhibit future cocoa cultivation in Ghana's south. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT)
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Jun 12, 2015

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David Valentin Schweiger (CCAFS Coordinating Unit)

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The country's cocoa production has to "confront heat and drought", writes Christian Bunn in his recent blog post.

Implementing climate-smart practices requires knowledge. Knowledge, among other things, about changes in temperature and rainfall patterns and ideally also about the drivers of such changes. New research emerging from the Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area (DAPA) of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) aims to uncover such drivers of climatic changes in Ghana.

DAPA also communicates its findings to agricultural stakeholders who might be affected, allowing for a productive dialogue between scientists and producers. As CIAT researcher Christian Bunn writes, a recent kick-off workshop in Accra, Ghana, sparked a "multi-stakeholder multi-level conversation about strategies to confront [and adapt to] climate change".

He writes: "Throughout the project we will continue to engage in these dialogues to refine our work. We will work with partners in the different impact zones with high, medium and low climate change impacts to develop site specific adaptation strategies." 

Because Ghana has diverse climates, different areas of the country are expected to face different consequences for agricultural production under ongoing climate change. Consequently, the DAPA's project "Mainstreaming CSA practices in cocoa production in Ghana" identifies five agro-ecological zones in Ghana and projects different suitability changes for cocoa cultivation for each zone.  

Despite warnings of climate unsuitability for cultivation in some zones, farmers continue to invest in the production of cocoa because the soils there are regarded as very suitable and the price incentives are right. However, some areas, particularly Ghana's south, are expected to become prohibitingly dry for production of the attractive cash crop in the near future. This does not leave, Ghana without options, however.

"After all, the conclusion is that cocoa production has a future in Ghana. When looking at the net changes, equal areas see favorable climatic changes as areas with negative impacts. [...] However, only if adaptation is done right will farmers be able to avoid harsh consequences on production," concludes Bunn.

Read Christian Bunn's original article Cocoa production in Ghana needs to confront heat and drought on CIAT's DAPA blog.