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Cocoa Research Institute Of Ghana

History

In June 1938 the Gold Coast Department of Agriculture established the Central Cocoa Research Station at Tafo to investigate problems of diseases and pests which had considerably reduced cocoa production in the Eastern Province. In 1944 it became the West African Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI) with a sub-station in Ibadan, Nigeria, and some research activities undertaken in Sierra Leone.

After the attainment of independence by Ghana and Nigeria, WACRI was dissolved, and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) were formed in its place. CRIG was administered by the National Research Council, which was later superseded by the Ghana Academy of Sciences and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The objectives of the Institute were subsequently expanded to include research on other indigenous and introduced tree crops that produced fats similar to cocoa butter.

CRIG won the privilege of being the research wing of the National Cashew Development Project in 2002, and cashew has since become a mandate crop of CRIG.

The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana also conducts research into the development of by-products of cocoa and the other mandate crops with the aim of diversifying utilization and generating additional income for farmers. CRIG initiated research into cocoa by-products in mid-1965, by setting up a committee of experts, with representatives from the University of Ghana, to identify by-products that could be produced from cocoa.

From the recommendations of the committee, research into cocoa by-products took off in 1970, spearheaded by Dr. D. Adomako, a biochemist. Cocoa by-products research received a further boost in 1992 with the setting up of the New Products Development Unit of CRIG. The Unit received financial support, through the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO)/the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)/Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) project in 1993.

Furthermore, the Ghana Cocoa Board in 1993 transferred to CRIG three large cocoa plantations to supplement cocoa production on CRIG’s experimental farms at Tafo, Afosu and Bunso, and to aid by-products research. Following the success of the cocoa by-products programme, attention was directed to develop similar by-products from the other mandate crops in 2004.

 Mandate

At its inception, the Central Cocoa Research Station was assigned clear goals within the Gold Coast Department of Agriculture, to investigate the pest and disease problems of cocoa in order to maintain production in the Eastern Province and elsewhere in the Gold Coast. In 1944 when the Research Station was up-graded to WACRI, the objectives were widened to include investigations into the disease and pest problems of cocoa in West Africa, soil fertility and good agricultural practices, with the view to increasing yield and farmers’ income.

The Committee which reviewed the operations of the Ghana Academy of Sciences under the Chairmanship of Sir John Cockcroft of the United Kingdom in 1966, recommended that CRIG programmes should be expanded to include research on coffee and kola. In 1974, the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board (now Ghana Cocoa Board) accepted a recommendation by CRIG to include shear research in its programmes to provide scientific support for the development of the shear industry in the savannah zone of Ghana.

CRIG was transferred to the Ministry of Cocoa Affairs in 1976 and taken over by the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board (now Ghana Cocoa Board) in 1984 after the abolition of the Ministry.

Achievements of CRIG

Among the most notable achievements of the Institute may be mentioned:

  • Control of maids by mass spraying with insecticides (Mid 1950s)
  • Characterization of cocoa swollen shoot disease as caused by a virus, discovery of mealy bugs as vectors of the virus and control of the disease by eradication (Early to mid-1940s/Current)
  • Isolation and characterization of CSSV and development of diagnostic methods (Current)
  • Introduction and testing of Amazon cocoa (1954)
  • Development of early bearing and high yielding WACRI series II hybrids by crosses between Amelonado and Amazon cocoa (1964)
  • Development of inter Amazon hybrids (1985/Current)
  • Understanding of the relationship between cocoa shade, nutrition and yield (1959 – 1963/ Current)
  • Isolation and characterization of CSSV and development of diagnostic methods (Current)
  • Identification of fast growing, exotic and indigenous shade trees for cocoa (Current)
  • Development of numerous agronomic packages guaranteeing yields of over three tonnes/ha. (1959 – 1975/Current)
  • Mass hand pollination of clonal seed gardens for large scale production of seed pods (Early 1970s)
  • Understanding of cocoa fermentation and flavour chemistry (Late 1950s/Current)
  • Short term control of a severe type of Black pod disease (Phytophthora megakarya) (Current)
  • Production of pectin, alcohol and alcoholic beverages, animal feed, jelly, soap and cosmetics as by-products from cocoa wastes (Current)
  • Overcoming the problem of cross-and self-incompatibility in kola (Cola nitida); selection and multiplication of types which are cross-and or self-compatible, thus guaranteeing high yielding planting material. (Current)
  • Development and release of elite Robusta coffee planting materials for establishment of national Coffee Wood Gardens (Current)
  • Development of agronomic packages that guaranty high yields and good quality cashew nuts. (Current)

The Institute has won several awards for research achievements both at local level and at International Fairs.

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