Mr Samuel Torbin, the 2013 Young Promising Best Cocoa Farmer, has urged the youth to venture into cocoa since it is lucrative and provides better livelihood for family development. He advised the youth in the communities who have travelled to the cities in search of non-existing greener pastures to come home and engaged in cocoa farming to better their lives.
Mr Torbin gave the advice at a Farmers’ Rally at Assin Sienchem in the Central Region organised by the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
The ceremony also welcomed a delegation from the Hershey Company, producers of quality chocolate in North America and students of Milton Hershey School, as part of the school’s tour to interact with cocoa farmers in the communities and learn from the experiences of the operations of COCOBOD.
As part of the tour, the delegation would visit some of the cocoa growing communities including Akyem Tafo and participate in planting of cocoa seedlings to learn more about the field.
Mr Torbin said Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD has appealed to the chiefs and other traditional authorities to assist the youth who intend to take up cocoa farming by offering land to them on flexible terms.
This, he, said, is prudent for the youth to be motivated to go into cocoa farming and make long term investment into cocoa farming.
He said COCOBOD had distributed 60 million hybrid cocoa seedlings to farmers across the country free of charge to boost their work.
Dr Kofi Blankson, the Municipal Chief Executive of Assin North said the cocoa sector generates about 20 per cent of the country’s merchandise exports and has created a unique culture for the people as well as the social and economic development.
He said government has started the construction of the cocoa road network in the cocoa growing communities and other infrastructural developments to motivate the youth to stay and engage in cocoa farming.
Dr Eugene Ofori Gyamfi, Central Regional Manager, Cocoa Health and Extension Division of COCOBOD said her outfit has initiated the Youth in Cocoa Farming Programme in a number of communities, to attract the youth to take up the lucrative agricultural venture.
He said that more than 30,000 young men and women are engaged in cocoa farming under the programme including the Assinman Young Cocoa Farmers Associations at Assin Fosu in the Central Region, Ellembelle in the Western Region, Asante Akim in the Ashanti Region and Kade in the Eastern Region.
Dr Gyamfi urged the farmers to make good use of the pesticides, adding that it is given according to the acres of land and not based on favouritism.