The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Sunyani, Ms Justina Owusu Banahene, has urged the youth to take up cocoa farming instead of engaging in risky ventures such as illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
According to her, cocoa farming has a lot of prospects to change their lives as well as guarantee them sustainable livelihoods rather than those “illegal trades” which she noted are injurious to their health.
The youth, she explained, could leverage on the available opportunities and support being offered by the government under the Planting for Food and Jobs to go into cocoa farming to better their lot.
The MCE was speaking at the official opening of the 2019 National Cocoa Day celebration on Saturday in Sunyani, under the theme “Sustainable Cocoa Production for Wealth and Health.”
The four-day programme which started with a health walk on Saturday would also have exhibition stands mounted by COCOBOD to showcase various farm inputs for farmers for the period.
Ms Banahene lauded the partnership between COCOBOD and government to supply free cocoa drink to about one million school children under the school feeding programme, noting that, it would enhance the health benefits of the school children.
The Chairman of the Cocoa Day celebration committee, Rev. Dr Ahia Clottey said Sunyani was chosen for this year’s celebration because the Bono Region had produced 11 national best farmers for the past 13 years.
While calling on the public to consume more cocoa products to drive its health benefits, Dr Ahia Clottey however expressed the hope that, the event will create the needed awareness as well as drive traffic to the programme.
The Deputy Bono Regional Minister, Mr Siaka Stevens who officially opened the event called on farmers to seize the opportunity of the celebration to buy the right farm inputs for their farming business.
FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI