Some youths in cocoa growing areas of the Sefwi Waiwso and Juabeso districts of the Western Region have said the difficulties in acquiring farmlands is a major disincentive for them to go into cocoa farming.
According to the youth, traditional authorities in these areas have either sold out farming lands or costed the farmlands at an amount way above what they could offer, now or later.
In addition to this, they said the terms and conditions attached some of the farmlands are not favorable for a young person who wants to venture into cocoa farming. Thus, they want the government and other stakeholders to intervene if Ghana’s cocoa production could be sustained.
However, Nana Elluo Panin II, the chief of Sefwi Nuansua, reacting to the concerns, in an interview, said despite farmlands being in ‘limited supply’ efforts are made to ensure that young people are assisted to obtain a plot or two for farming.
He said he has been engaging ‘tenant farmers’ to reclaim old and unused lands so that it could be given out to the youths who are willing to take up active cocoa farming.
Nana Elluo Panin II advised the youth not to wait for bigger farmlands before they consider going into cocoa farming but start something on any piece of land they are given, particularly looking at the current land situation.
He said the youth should take up cocoa farming seriously since it is a lucrative business that can benefit generations unborn.
The Western North Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division of the COCOBOD, Mr. Samuel Amponsah, also noted that as part of measures to encourage more youth to go into cocoa farming, they have formed youth corporative groups in all cocoa districts in the region.
This according to him will enable the youths who go into cocoa farming to easily get assistance from COCOBOD.
Mr. Amponsah also said all cocoa health and extension division district officers in the Region are to reserve 30 percent quota of free fertilizer and seedlings for supply to the youths.
He explained that COCOBOD has realized that the youth easily adapt to new methods of farming as compared to the aged cocoa farmers hence all these initiatives are intended to motivate them.