Friday, April 19, 2024
Home Agribusiness FAO Advisor Tips Farmers On Cocoa Value Chain

FAO Advisor Tips Farmers On Cocoa Value Chain

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Umar Nsubuga

Cocoa farmers in Uganda have been tipped to adopt new strategies and the latest technology to boost both the opportunities for cocoa production and its value chain.  

Pamela Anyoti, Peronaci the newly appointed Technical Advisor for Climate Resilient Cocoa Value Chain Development at the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), advised farmers to adopt clear plans for better soil management to create jobs and other opportunities.

She said during the interview recently, she called upon farmers, the private sector and the exporters that there is a variety of technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) that can help in improving soil performance.

“It is about having very good clear plans and better management, in reality, we are in the age of AI, there is no reason we can fail to develop a farmer’s register. There is already a methodology to work with farmers, the most amount of money goes on training in capacity building but we must train them on soil management,” she said.

Anyoti added that though Uganda is still in the infancy stages of cocoa growing, the numbers can grow from 20,000 to 500,000 in the next few years.

She observed that the innovation platform works hand in hand with farmers and private sector companies through partnerships. There is a methodology of working with farmers that can boost cocoa production.

“The beauty about cocoa is when you bring farmers on board, teach them on how to manage the soil and enable planting of different foods at the same time, if you are  managing the soil, the farmer understands better if they plant some foods like beans or bananas,” she added.

She emphasised the importance of educating farmers on AI technology to provide real-time information about the market and clear regulatory policies. A robust value chain is unattainable without effective storage, which is currently the missing link.

Rather than merely stockpiling, our approach involves a comprehensive strategy with a well-defined plan. Special attention should be given to engaging commercial farmers, as they serve as crucial links to smallholder farmers. Additionally, we must acknowledge the significance of various exporters in the equation.

Sensitising stakeholders about the unique qualities and prices of Ugandan Cocoa is essential, with the ultimate goal of benefiting the farmers.

“Emphasis should be placed on soil health to prevent depletion, as plants require proper nourishment. Training programs for farmers are imperative to ensure they are equipped with the necessary knowledge.”

Anyoti emphasising that cocoa is a well-adapted agroforestry plantation crop grown in hot, rainy climates sometimes called the ‘Cocoa Belt’ and embraced within the areas mostly in the country’s west and central regions, and the crop supports about 10,000 households.

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