The maiden annual Forum for the CocoaSoils program has been held at the Hill View Guest Center in Teiman, Accra, Ghana on January 24, 2019. The forum followed a three-day Science Committee meeting in which the research and project partners came together to assess the project implementation, assure transparent and accessible dissemination of research outcomes, and provide inputs into the research of the different partners.

The forum brought together program coordinators, representatives from national and international research institutes, government representatives, non-program industry companies, farmer organizations, in-country cocoa authorities, farmers and the media among others.

The annual forum aims at building a common understanding of the CocoaSoils program by sharing the outline and progress so far, and engaging partners to further strengthen agronomic research in West and Central Africa.

The program which is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation NORAD is poised to translate the results from the research into practice by highlighting public-private partnerships as an important part of the program. The forum was a platform not only to speak to the audience on the outputs of the program but also to gain inputs from various experts to improve the program.
Mr. Daniel van Gilst, the representative from NORAD took the opportunity to explain the global impact that the program will make with the results and implementation of the research. He further explained that “the problem of poor soil management is an important one because too many people are affected by cocoa and too many households depend on cocoa”.
Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana COCOBOD who was also in attendance, emphasized in a speech that “the Ghana COCOBOD is committed to the success of all the activities within the program and hopes that the research component will filter down to the farmers and positively affect cocoa production in Ghana”.
The forum was characterized by presentations from various experts within the CocoaSoils program and as a side attraction, a marketplace poster exhibition, where various trial managers and students on the project, exhibited their research and progress.

Dr. Bernard Vanlauwe (IITA), Daniel van Gilst (NORAD), Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh (COCOBOD), and Dr. H.K. Dzahini-Obiatey (CRIG) (from left to right
Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh addressing conference participants
Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh interacting with Dr. Olayiwola Olubamiwa (Chief Executive of Cocoa Research of Nigeria) and other dignitaries at the conference
Mr. Daniel Van Gilst of NORAD interacting with scientists during poster exhibition
Participants interacting during Poster Exhibition
Cross section of participants