40,000 Subscribe To Young Cocoa Farmers’ Programme

About 40,000 young people have been enticed into cocoa farming following the introduction of the ‘Young Cocoa Farmers’ Programme’ Dr Francis Oppong, Deputy Chief Executive (Agronomy and Quality Control), COCOBOD, has announced.

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Mr Oppong
Mr Oppong

The programme is an intervention by the government to fight the growing unemployment and raise cocoa production levels.

Mr Oppong addressing the eighth National Chocolate Day
Mr Oppong addressing the eighth National Chocolate Day

It involves supporting the youth, who go into cocoa growing with early-bearing and yielding seedlings, fertilizers and other inputs, alongside extension services and access to credit.

Dr. Oppong, addressing the eighth National Chocolate Day held at Krodua in the Eastern Region encouraged more young people to take advantage of this to own cocoa farms, adding that, “it is more rewarding”.

The theme for this year’s event was on “Youth in cocoa, sustaining cocoa production”.

The Deputy Chief Executive said cocoa farming should not be seen as “a way of life but lucrative business”.

He underlined the determination of the COCOBOD to work hard and with passion to significantly boost the production of the crop that had over the decades remained the mainstay of the national economy.

Dr. Oppong said that the introduction of improved seedlings that could start bearing fruits between two and three years, combined with the supply of fertilizers and pesticides, had increased the per hectare yield.

Added to this, he said, was the payment of attractive producer prices. Per bag price of cocoa had risen from GHȼ212.00 in 2013/14 crop season to GHȼ425.00 in 2015/16.

He also spoke of the setting up of district task forces across all cocoa growing regions to make sure that there was fairness and transparency in the distribution of agro-inputs to farmers.

Source: GNA

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