The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is appealing to traditional authorities to make land available and support the drive to get the youth to venture into cocoa farming.
The Youth-in-Cocoa Farming Programme aims at attracting the youth to see cocoa cultivation not as for survival but a business venture, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo announced in Accra Thursday, at a high-level meeting on land tenure and property rights in cocoa farming communities in Ghana.
The meeting brought together key stakeholders such as the House of Chiefs, relevant state agencies and private sector partners to deliberate on issues such as documentation, existing land rights, and fees and rent payment arrangements.
Youth-in-Cocoa Farming Programm Mr. Boahen Aidoo noted will also serve as the springboard of capitalization for our youth.
Cocoa farming in Ghana takes place under the customary land tenure system which represents about 80 per cent of the total landholding in Ghana, hence the CEO’s call on the Chiefs to make land available for the programme.
“What the new Management of COCOBOD and Government have programmed to do is to provide subsistence support not only for the tenant farmer but for the land owner as well to engender cooperation on the part of landowners and ease access to land for prospective young cocoa farmers. In effect, it is some fundamental principles of customary sharecropping arrangement that are being re-enacted,” he explained.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo, therefore, implored traditional authorities and land owners to “make land available for our youth to go into fanning not for survival as it has been known to be, but as business venture”.
The Government, determined to reverse the declining trend of cocoa production and work hard towards the targeted I million tonnes per annum or more within the next four years, has rolled out programmes to improve productivity of cocoa farmers. Current yield of farmers according to COCBOD, stands at an average of 450kg/ha compared to 2,000kg/ha elsewhere in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Ecuador.
The focus, he said, is on the cocoa farmer, and to make cocoa farming a lucrative venture and attractive to the youth through initiatives such as introducing the technique of hand pollination to the farmers.
“The selection of the hand pollinators for the programme is targeting youth, especially young cocoa farmers so that they own pollination as well as set up enterprises to pollinate other farmers’ farms,” he stated.
Participants at the meeting included: President of National House of Chiefs, Nana Balfour Osei Hyearnan; Vice President of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Dr. Paul Macek; Chief Executives and Chief Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as representatives of collaborating agencies.