Ghana enticing youth into cocoa farming – Veep

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur says Ghana is actively enticing young people to take up cocoa farming by offering a range of incentives.
He was speaking at a Cocoa Dinner organised by the Federation of Cocoa Commerce at Grosvenor House in London.
The dinner brought together around 900 people from the international cocoa community, including Muhammed Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Paul Boateng, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Victor Smith, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
The theme for this year’s dinner, “West Meets East,” focused on West Africa as the world’s leading cocoa producers and the growing importance of Asia to the global economy.
Chocolate sales in China are projected to grow by 10 per cent per annum and strong growth is also expected in the BRIC countries.
Enticing the youth

Revealing the importance of cocoa farming to the country, Vice President Amissah-Arthur said it forms three per cent of Ghana’s GDP and provides employment for almost a million farmers and a source of livelihood for millions of citizens in six out of the 10 of the regions. He added that cocoa constituted 20 per cent of Ghana’s merchandise export.
He said this was why government wanted to ensure continuity.
“Ghana as a country has identified one of the challenges as the lack of motivation for the youth to embrace cocoa farming and take over from the ageing farmers,” Vice President Amissah-Arthur pointed out.
He said the Ghana Cocoa Board has initiated the ‘youth in cocoa farming programme’ and a number of cocoa growing communities have been provided with seeds.
The programme is also aimed at identifying young people to engage in cocoa farming and attracting new ones to take up the lucrative agricultural venture.
He said so far more than 30,000 young men and women are involved in the initiative and are being supported with the necessary inputs, including free fertilizer and agro chemicals as well as extension services.
Ending child labour
Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur however noted that Ghana is currently working to eliminate child labour on cocoa farms.
He added that the government has introduced the Child Education Support Programme to ensure that schools in cocoa growing communities are rehabilitated and new ones built in communities where there are no schools.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said providing educational infrastructure would give children living in deprived cocoa communities and opportunity to access quality education.
He gave the assurance that the government is committed to improving road networks in cocoa growing communities as well as other infrastructural development which would help improve the quality of life and provide an incentive for the youth to stay in the communities and engage in cocoa farming.
Mr Amissah-Arthur also stated that government is committed to ensuring that children are protected from exploitation and that sound environmental practices that protect the nation’s forest reserves and water bodies are adopted.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said presently the Ghana Cocoa Board in collaboration with certified bodies like the Rain Forest Alliance and Fair Trade has set up certification standards for cocoa production and members are educated on good agronomic practices in order to ensure sustainability of cocoa production whilst addressing environmental and ethical issues.
He said government has been active by providing direct support to farmers including cocoa spraying and extension services to farmers to educate them on good agronomic practices and prevent crop losses and the production of good cocoa.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur noted that the Ghana Cocoa Board has also initiated the cocoa rehabilitation and replanting programme to assist farmers to rehabilitate and replant old diseased and abandoned cocoa farms.
He said this year 50 million hybrid cocoa seedlings are being distributed to farmers free of charge and the programme would continue annually to ensure job sustainability.
Vice President Amissah Arthur expressed the gratitude of the government to the federation for promoting, protecting and regulating the trade of cocoa beans and products as well as supporting and safeguarding the interest of its members.
Credit: GNA

Related Articles

Back to top button