Coconut sector development project. Report on the mission from 12th to 25th May 2003

Ollivier Jean, Dery Sylvester Kuuna, Andoh-Mensah E.. 2003. Coconut sector development project. Report on the mission from 12th to 25th May 2003. Montpellier : CIRAD-CP, 37 p. N° de rapport : CP_SIC 1661

Mission report
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Abstract : The purpose of the mission undertaken in connection with the CSDP was to assess the surveys carried out in March and April 2003 on the overall functioning of the farms involved in the project. It made it possible to assess intercropping systems with young palms (replanting component) and farmers' cultural practices. Around thirty surveys carried out in 4 districts of the Western and Central Regions were examined during the mission and it was seen how difficult it was to obtain reliable and coherent data. Additional interviews conducted with a dozen farmers during this mission, and visits to farms, revealed the contrasting and variable situations in the different districts surveyed. These first surveys enable initial zoning to be carried out. In Central region, which has been affected by the disease for quite a long time, quite diversified farming systems are found. The food crop sector is very dynamic as it is nearer to consumption zones, such as Cape Coast, or to supply zones for the capital Accra. This is a major fruit and cashew nut production zone. There is great enthusiasm for coconut, which fetches a good price on the local market (higher price due to its greater scarcity). In the Ahanta districts, there are still many pockets of coconut plantings yet to be affected by LY, but the disease is very active, and there is strong oil palm and rubber development (proximity to GREL) replacing coconut. Some farms converted rapidly, by intensifying and developing sugar cane cultivation, notably in Shama Ahanta East district and the western part of C/R. To the west, in the zone unaffected by LY, and more particularly in Jomoro district, the economy is closely linked to coconut, with large processing units such as the Essiama oil mill and the Tikobo fibre factory. To these are added numerous small village processing units that produce coconut oil sold on large markets such as Kumasi and Accra. Farmers are highly dependent upon coconut. An analysis of the 29 survey farms provided the beginnings of an initial typology of the farms encountered. They could be classed into 3 groups: 1. Eight more or less diversified farms but geared towards the food crop market and whose income was mostly linked to agricultural activity. Labour investment was substantial on most of these farms. 2. Ten highly specialized farms generating considerable income (> 3.5 M cedis). Two sub-groups could be distinguished depending on the region considered: - in the replanting zone, farms With high added value specializing in sugar cane, citronella, or pig rearing, which largely mobilized family labour and employed hired labour. - in the intensification zone, most of the farms on which income was closely linked to coconut, but the mobilization of family labour was very limited (cash from coconut which funded harvesting work and plantation upkeep). 3. Eleven farms whose owners often have substantial outside income and land, and who invest in plantations. The share of agricultural earnings in their total income is small (from 0 to 30%). In this group, 4 farmers grow food crops for their own consumption only. Mobilization of family labour on these farms is limited due to age or another activity. These farms usually employ temporary hired labour, but in varying quantities according to requirements and the resources available to pay for it. Although all these farms were supervised by the project, the crop management sequences practised, involving coconut, were quite different (upkeep, intercropping, fertilization, crop protection, etc.). These differences were often the result of determining factors and the specific objectives of each type of farm. It is obvious that the key to success for immature coconut palms depends on crop upkeep, regular fertilizer applications and pest control. All these ingredients were not always present, resulting in considerable variability in the growth performance of palms, as could be seen from the measurements taken during this survey.

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Ollivier Jean, CIRAD-CP-COCOTIER (FRA)
  • Dery Sylvester Kuuna, OPRI (GHA)
  • Andoh-Mensah E., OPRI (GHA)

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