The Deputy Technical Manager of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Eric Bani has pledged that Cocobod will assist the youth in “every form and shape” to take to cocoa farming.
He said research has shown that average age of a cocoa farmer is about 55-56 years and that the initiative to support the youth is in keeping with plans to encourage more young people to take up cocoa farming as a business in order to compensate for the dwindling number of cocoa farmers.
Mr. Bani made the promise at the inauguration of Sefwi Akontombra District Youth Cocoa Farmers Confederation (SADYCOFAC) at Sefwi Akontombra in the Western Region.
GBC’s Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo reports that Mr. Bani advised the youth at the event which doubled as a District rally to register and have their farms measured as a pre-condition to receive fertilizer, chemicals and seedling for planting.
The Deputy Technical Manager of CHED pointed out that the insistence of Cocobod for people to register and have their farms measured is to ensure that proper inventory is taken of what is being given out as well as seeing to it that procurement is done against measured farms.
Mr. Bani told GBC that cocoa seedlings have been increased from 2015’s figure of 50 million to 60 million seedlings in 2016 whilst nursery sites have been brought closer to cocoa farmers.
The Western Regional Chief Farmer for Western North, Nana Nicholas Cobbinah stressed the need for things to be streamlined to ensure the three thousand and 51 foundation members of SADYCOFAC are people genuinely committed to cocoa farming to avoid the diversion of inputs that are supplied to them.
The 86-year-old Nana Cobbinah admonished the youth to take good care of themselves in order to stay healthy and play their expected roles in the cocoa sector.
The Senior Regional Manager of Western North CHED, Samuel Amponsah spoke on the topic “Sensitization of Farmers on Programs and Policies of CHED, 2016 (Free Fertilizer, Free Chemicals, Free Seedlings)”.
Touching on Cocobod scholarship in a response to a question, Mr. Amponsah indicated that about 60% of the scholarship package is given to the children and wards of cocoa farmers.
He advised farmers not to leave their cocoa passbook(s) with purchasing clerks to avoid the practice where people who are not farmers could lay hands on passbook(s) to access Cocobod scholarship.
The Deputy Regional Manager of Western North CHED, Samuel Asare Ankamah admonished farmers to report as soon as practicable when they detect swollen shoot on their farms for the needed remedial actions to be taken.
The District Technical Officer for Sefwi Akontombra, Samuel Osei conducted GBC round a 205-thousand cocoa seedlings nursery site at Sefwi Akontombra.
Mr. Osei added that Asaase, Bopa, Asanteman, Kramokrom and Yamfo equally have nurseries, bringing the total seedlings available in the District this year to one-point-three million.
A nine-member Executive of Sefwi Akontombra District Youth Cocoa Farmers Confederation (SADYCOFAC) with Isaac Donkor as President was sworn into office, appealed to Nananom to give land to prospective cocoa farmers.
Mr. Donkor equally entreated the youth not go to the cities to do menial jobs but venture into cocoa farming which he described as a security in their old-age.
The theme for the occasion was “Cocoa Farming: Our Pride, Our Hope, Our Future”