Participants at a forum on cocoa farming inputs have urged the youth to venture into cocoa farming to ensure its sustainability.
According to them, the youth was a key part of the solution to revitalising the countries cocoa sector.
The participants were speaking at a symposium in Accra on Wednesday on cocoa farming inputs which was organised by the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) in collaboration with Mondiaal FNV, an Australian based organisation.
They indicated that if efforts were not intensified to encourage the youth to take up cocoa farming, the future of the sector would be in jeopardy.
The two-day event sought to collate ideas on how to mobilise resources to improve on the fortunes of cocoa farmers in the country.
The General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei, and some members of the union as well as the National Chief Farmer of the Ghana Cocoa Coffee Sheanut Farmers Association (COCOSHE), Alhaji Alhassan Bukari and other Chief Cocoa farmers from the Volta, Ashanti and Central Regions participated in the forum.
Identifying some key barriers that affected the involvement of the youth in the sector, some participants attributed it to the introduction of weeding as a form of corporal punishment in schools and the inability of the youth to access lands.
To attract the youth to the cocoa industry, they stressed the need for subsidy on the cost of farm inputs and the introduction of modern technologies in the farming sector.
Outlining some challenges, Mr Kotei who was the keynote speaker, said ageing cocoa trees should be cut down and called for the introduction of modern methods of farming and the proper handling and packaging of cocoa.
He noted that cocoa production had over the years been the backbone of the economy and stressed the need to put in place measures that would ensure its sustainability.
According to the ICU Boss, cocoa generated about $ 2 billion in annual foreign exchange to the country, adding that it remained a major source of livelihood.
To restore the level of productivity in the sector, Mr Kotei stressed the need for greater collaboration of all the supply chain partners in the industry.
Alhaji Bukari commended the ICU for taking interest in the sustainability of the cocoa sector.
BY ALLIA NOSHIE AND DOROTHY BROCKE