Ebenezer Mensah, Bismark Mensah-Brako, Wilson A, Agyare, Francis Padi & Nicolas KyeiBaffour
The study was carried out to identify major production constraints confronting establishment and rehabilitation of smallholder cocoa farms and its impacts on cocoa production. It was carried out by administering questionnaire and taking soil samples from five cocoa stations (Buako, Bunso, Kwadaso, Poano and Fumso) and six cocoa farming communities (Obuasi Nkwanta, Nyinahini, Akroso, Sefwi-Wiawso and Wassa-Akropong). Altogether one hundred and twenty farmers and five cocoa station officers were interviewed. The results revealed that the main constraints militating against the establishment and rehabilitation cocoa farms are poor soil nutrients, scarcity of early bearing and high yielding cocoa seeds and seedlings. Others are nonavailability of appropriate cocoa nursing poly bags, inappropriate watering application rate at the nursery period and poor agro-chemical application technology. The study showed that about 68 % of cocoa farmers raised cocoa seedlings using drinking water sachets that are shorter than the recommended nursing poly bags and this may affect root development after four month in the nursery which may lead to poor establishment of seedlings after transplanting. The soils in the study areas were deficient in soil macronutrients and the physical growth parameters of cocoa seedlings produced in the study areas were less vigorous compared to recommended seedlings by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana which could be the consequence of nutrient deficiency. To correct nutrient deficiency and other challenges, it is recommended that farmers have to adopt the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, use appropriate nursery bags and use adequate watering regime for nursing seedlings.