Rehabilitating cocoa plantations

| November 19, 2021

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Like our Farmer story from Cote d’Ivoire, our Script of the Week focuses on practices to keep cocoa plantations healthy. 

After the Ivory Coast, Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world. Cocoa is Ghana’s main cash crop and one of the major contributors to economic growth in the country.

Cocoa producers in Ghana are mainly small-scale farmers with an average plantation of three hectares or less. Recently, small-scale farmers have been facing the risk of losing their source of income due to the rise of diseases on many cocoa farms in Ghana. Apart from disease problems, many farms have very old cocoa trees, 30 years old or more. Older trees are more susceptible to disease and have low yields, which has drastically reduced farmers’ productivity.

Therefore, Cocobod—the body that governs cocoa production, processing, marketing, and distribution in Ghana—has introduced a cocoa rehabilitation program. This program helps farmers remove their old trees and replace them with hybrid varieties that produce more pods and increase farmers’ income.

This script explores the problems associated with keeping old and diseased cocoa trees, and shows how this problem can be solved by cutting down low-yielding and unhealthy cocoa trees and replacing them with new hybrid seedlings. 

The script presents the benefits of cocoa rehabilitation and deals with the issues surrounding this initiative. It may also help soothe many farmers’ fears concerning the process.

This script is based on actual interviews. You could use it as inspiration to research and write a script on cocoa or other cash crops in your area. You might choose to produce this script as part of your regular farmer program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.

If you broadcast to a cocoa-growing area, you might want to adapt this program for your audience and then invite listeners to call or text their comments and questions. Here are some possibilities for discussion:

  • Are there opportunities for cocoa farmers to profit from adding value to cocoa in your listening area?
  • Can local cocoa farmers benefit from practicing this cocoa rehabilitation program? How?
  • What are the barriers to profiting from cocoa farming in your area?
  • What can cocoa farmers do to sustain themselves and their families during the three-year waiting period after they cut their old trees?
  • How can cocoa farmers benefit from planting shade trees? What are the best shade trees available to the farmers in your area?