Dissemination Workshop on Climate Smart Cocoa Systems for Ghana Held

A participants making a contribution at the Workshop

UG’s Department of Geography and Resource Development and its partners have held a one-day dissemination workshop on the Climate Smart Cocoa Systems for Ghana (CLIMCOCOA) Project, funded by DANIDA.  

This ground-breaking project aims to use a research-based approach to develop a thorough understanding of how climate change can impact the socio-biophysical aspects of Ghana's cocoa systems.  

In his welcome remarks, Prof. George Owusu, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, extended his gratitude to the participants for enrolling in the CLIMCOCOA dissemination workshop.

He noted that the project, which has been running for the past six years, was purposed to develop smart systems and methods in relation to the impact of climate change on the cocoa system to aid the continuous and effective production of cocoa which will foster economic growth and rural development in Ghana. 

He added that the dissemination workshop was a phase of the entire project where the findings of the research project would be disseminated through three presentations during the event. 

The Pro-Vice Chancellor in charge of Research Innovation and Development (RID), Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, disclosed that the CLIMCOCOA project is one of the several UG-led projects managed from the Office of Research Innovation and Development [ORID] and was awarded by DANIDA to a consortium of universities in the global South and North as well as two International Research Institutions.  

Pro-Vice Chancellor in charge of Research Innovation and Development (RID), Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante

He pointed out that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the World Agroforestry Centre [ICRAF] are the two International Research Institutions, with the University of Ghana serving as the lead institution in the South.  The North partners are the Universities of Copenhagen and Roskilde, both of which are located in Denmark. 

He stated that the project was awarded for the period 2016-2020, with a fixed sum of 10,000,000 Danish Kroner, with the objectives of developing a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of climate change on the socio-biophysical basis of cocoa systems in Ghana, and assessing the role of agroforestry as a model for climate and carbon smart agriculture. 

Prof. Ankomah Asante also expressed gratitude to DANIDA for entrusting the University with such an important initiative. He also conveyed appreciation to the dedicated project team for their amazing work thus far. 

A cross-section of participants at the Workshop

“UG is grateful to DANIDA for keeping their part of the contract and supporting the project with the needed resources even as the project had to be extended due to the challenges of COVID-19 and offering a no-cost extension for two years for a successful completion and dissemination of results. As we gather today to listen to the contributions of the project to scholarship and development of the cocoa sector in Ghana, ORID would like to recognise the contributions of the Department of Geography and Resource Development and the Research Team led by Prof. Kwadwo Owusu, the Principal Supervisor for the hard work and successful execution of the project,’ he stated.  

In his overview of the CLIMCOCOA project, Prof. Kwadwo Owusu, the project's Principal Investigator, commented that although leading a project like CLIMCOCOA in a setting like the University of Ghana was challenging, the project had achieved success because it had secured the necessary support from necessary stakeholders. 

He mentioned that a consortium was formed to put in a proposal to the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) on the development research project which Ghana at the time qualified for because it was a low income country. 

Prof. Owusu added that the conceptualisation of the hypothesis in line with the objectives of the proposal was not focused on assessing the yield but rather on the health of the cocoa tree. According to him, the key strategy for developing the project was having a team of researchers, recruiting of a Post-doctoral fellow and a set of PhD students to tackle each of the major issues in the research. 

He gave brief insights of the setup, implementation, challenges and achievements of the research project during the past six years. He also expressed his appreciation to DANIDA, Department of Crop Science, Department of Geography and Resource Development, COCOBOD, Participant Cocoa Farmers, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, the Project Team and other individuals and associations for their unflinching support and immense contributions which had made the research project a successful one. 

Dr. Richard Asare from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) gave a brief lecture on Cocoa Agroforestry in Ghana before the three presentations by the three PhD students on various aspects of the CLIMCOCOA Project. 

The three PhD students who successfully graduated from the University of Ghana after the four year period of the research project included Dr. Bismark Asitoakor, Dr. Eric Opoku Mensah and Dr. Sylvester Afram Boadi. 

Following the presentation sessions, there was an engaging Q&A session that sparked a lively conversation regarding the main problems affecting Ghana's cocoa production and the role of policymakers in enhancing the nation's cocoa industry. 

Present at the workshop were officers from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, staff from CSIR and the University’s Department of Crop Science, representatives from the various partnering agencies, researchers and students.