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Revival Of Smallholder Coconut Sector - Example Of Coconut Sector Development Programme In Ghana

Coconut, which is generally cultivated on coastal sands, is a smallholder crop satisfying the diverse needs of the dependent families It is also the only cash crop that can be grown on these poor soils, with degraded fertility, following long years of cultivation without nutrient replenishment. Yields are low and cultivation constraints are often considerable: nowadays, in many places, coconut yields are very low whilst entire coconut plantations are under threat of being completely wiped out. Their disappearance, or at least that of some of the plantations, would have considerable economic and social impact on the local people for whom coconut farming is the main actitivity and the main source of cash income. However, improving the performance of coconut plantations can contribute towards the well-being of families living in the corresponding zones. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), with AFD and CIRAD collaboration has been implementing since 1999 a Coconut Sector Development Programme (CSDP) in Ghana with the following purposes:
• Promote replanting with disease tolerant varieties in zones devastated by Lethal Yellowing disease (LY). In this case, the objective is lo provide technical advice for replanting and increase the production capacity of seed gardens. More than 550 ha of new plantings have been set up (average area of I lo 2 ha/farmer).
• Increase yields in coconut plantations located in disease-free zones through fertilizer applications (western zone of Western Region, bordering on Cote d Ivoire). The aim is lo demonstrate the effect of fertilizers (demonstration plots) and set in place the technical and financial resources required for farmers to increase production in their plantations. By the end of 2002, more than 1.200 ha of plantations will have been rehabilitated and their yields substantially increased (by 50 to 200%)
• Increase income derived from traditional oil processing by women, by improving the technology used and providing technical support, thereby increasing output from the process and improving working conditions. The technologies proposed for that purpose concern kernel grating, coconut cream extraction, use of improved furnaces consuming less fuel and producing less smoke.
A new project entitled "Support to the smallholder coconut sector to improve the living conditions of rural populations" has been funded by AFD in Mozambique since mid-2()02. The main aim of the project (with funding of 7.2 million Euro) is to revitalize the sector in Zambezia province, in order to increase the income of that corresponding populations, who live close to the poverty line. The strategy adopted comprises 4 main aspects:
- implementation of a disease control programme which, in order to be effective, will have to be extended lo the neighbouring provinces around Zambezia,
- development of an intensification programme in zones not yet affected by Lethal Yellowing,
- testing, then disseminating, improved small-scale copra drying and coconut oil production techniques, - organization of a training programme designed to create coconut expertise on a national and provincial level.


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