The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), will host this year’s Cocoa Day on Thursday, October 1, at Akim-Tafo in the Eastern Region with the focus on how to attract the youth to cocoa farming.
The day will be marked on the theme: “Sustainable cocoa production-the role of the youth.”
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency ahead of the celebration of the day, Mr Noah Amenyah, Public Affairs Manager of Cocobod, said the focus of this year’s celebration was on the youth because they constituted the future of the industry.
“We have chosen this theme to commemorate this year’s International Cocoa Day because the youth would answer the question of ageing cocoa farmers and would also be able to supply the next generation of cocoa farmers,” he said.
“Ghana, like other cocoa producing countries, is faced with the phenomenon of aged farmers, a situation that threatens the future of the cocoa economy”, he said, adding that to counter the impact of aged cocoa farmers and to sustain cocoa production into the future, it was important to get the youth attracted to cocoa farming.
“It is in this direction, that, Cocobod has initiated the youth in cocoa programme, which seeks to identify youth groups, who are cocoa farmers and others who wish to be in cocoa farming to be able to attract them to the cocoa business”, she said.
Mr Amenyah said Cocobod had in place various schemes including the supply of free seedlings, fertiliser and free spraying as well as chemicals to control pests and diseases, for the youth.
“This year we’ve given out 50 million cocoa seedlings, so most of the youth who want to go into cocoa farming have had their supplies,” he said, adding that the board also helps the youth farmers with education on how to go through cocoa farming.
Mr Amenyah said the youth would be instrumental in replanting about 23 per cent of the cocoa tree stock that are over-aged to enable the country to structurally change its plantations.
He appealed to the chiefs to make land available to the youth for cocoa cultivation.
He said Cocobod this year decided to shift the focus of the day to production issues, which normally promotes the consumption of cocoa.
Activities planned for the day include an exhibition to show the people what the cocoa value chain is, and a durbar of chiefs, people, and cocoa farmers particularly the youth.
The day will also attract international guests, including the Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organisation.
October 1 is celebrated by the Cocoa Producers Alliance, an organisation of cocoa producing countries, to create awareness about the cocoa industry.