Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni has expressed concern about the increasing number of cocoa farmers who are growing old, saying the situation could affect the production of the crop in the country.
He noted that research had confirmed that most cocoa farmers were aging, with an average cocoa farmer attaining 55 years,
Dr Opuni added that the situation could affect the sustenance of cocoa production since they cannot channel sufficient energies and resources into production.
He therefore called for drastic intervention to encourage more youth to venture into cocoa farming and become the next generation of farmers to sustain production.
Dr Opuni expressed the concern in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of Akuafo Anigye Young Cocoa Farmers Association at Aiyinase in the Ellembelle Distinct in the Western region on Wednesday.
The move is aimed at encouraging the youth to take up cocoa farming to sustain production and reduce youth unemployment.
It is envisaged that 100,000 youth would take up cocoa farming in the next couple of years to help the nation achieve a sustained annual output of one million metric tons of cocoa beans.
The CEO of COCOBOD therefore appealed to chiefs and landowners to make land available to the youth that would take up the challenge of venturing into cocoa farming to motivate them.
Currently, he said there are about 800.000 cocoa farming households in the country producing an average of 850,000 metric tons annually, hence the need to sustain the efforts to achieve the set target.
Dr Opuni noted that the ‘Youth in Cocoa Farming Initiative,’ which was introduced by COCOBOD, is a special package to support prospective young cocoa farmers to maintain their farms and improve yield.
He said COCOBOD had successfully raised 50 million high yielding early bearing and disease tolerant hybrid cocoa seedlings and pod, with gestation period of two to three years.
Moreover, he said, free fertiliser and agro-chemicals are being supplied to cocoa farmers by government to enhance their work and urged young graduates to take advantage of the opportunity to venture into cocoa production as a lifelong investment to earn them sustainable income.
To enhance access to cocoa growing communities, Dr Opuni indicated that COCOBOD is collaborating with the Ministry of Roads and Highways to rehabilitate roads leading to cocoa growing communities in the region.
He warned farmers smuggling cocoa beans and agro-chemicals to neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire to desist from the unlawful act before the law catches up with them.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|