GHANA - The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Francis Oppong, has appealed to custodians of traditional lands to release lands for farming under the board’s Youth in Cocoa Programme.
That, he said, would motivate the youth to go into cocoa farming, thereby reducing the unemployment rate and preventing them from migrating to big cities.
He made the appeal at the 2016 National Chocolate Day held at Krodua in the Eastern Region over the weekend.
It was on the theme: ‘Youth in Cocoa, Sustaining Cocoa Production’.
COCOBOD, has since 2014, intensified efforts at encouraging the youth into the lucrative venture of cocoa farming.
As part of its efforts, the board is supplying free high-yielding and early bearing hybrid cocoa seedlings, fertilisers and other inputs to the cocoa farmers.
Dr Oppong said the intention was meant to discourage the youth from engaging in rural-urban migration.
“Rather than trooping to the cities to seek non-existent jobs, the youth are being encouraged to stay in their communities and take to farming as a vocation.”
“Now is the best period for anyone to venture into cocoa farming because improved hybrid cocoa seedlings, which come into bearing between two to three years, are being supplied at no cost to the farmer,” he noted.
Prices of cocoa
The producer price of cocoa paid to farmers has increased over the last few years, in line with efforts by the government to motivate farmers.
It increased from GH¢150 per bag in the 2009/10 season to GH¢200 in the 2011/12 crop season.
It was further increased to GH¢212 in the 2013/14 season and then to GH¢350 per bag in the 2014/15 season.
In the ongoing 2015/16 season, the producer price was increased to GH¢425 per bag.
He, therefore, entreated the youth to take advantage of those opportunities and venture into cocoa farming in order to earn a decent living.
National Chocolate Day
COCOBOD used the National Chocolate Day to educate the farmers in the region on good agronomic practices.
Past winners of the young cocoa farmers also shared their success stories with farmers in the community.
The Chief of Krodua, Nana Kwame Anim II, pledged his willingness to offer over 500 acres to the youth to start cocoa production in the community. He urged them to come back home to start cocoa farming.