Solidaridad trains youth in cocoa production

New Edubiase (Ash)� Solidaridad, a Non-state actor working for the development and creation of sustainable businesses and livelihoods in Ghana, has stepped up efforts to train and encourage more Ghanaian youth to go into cocoa production.

The organisation through its ‘Next Generation Youth in Cocoa Program’ (MASO), has successfully trained over 1,300 youth in 44- cocoa growing communities in the Adansi South District.

The participants were taken through best practices and techniques in cocoa production.

Mr Philip Kankam, Coordinator of the MASO Cocoa Academy, speaking at a ceremony to present certificates to the graduating youth at New Edubiase, said the project had already registered 3,700 youth, across the country.

The registered youth would take part in the three-year cocoa training programme MASO is implementing in the country.

He said the project, which was being funded by the Master Card Foundation in Toronto Canada, was an innovative intervention that targeted the youth between the ages of 18 and 25 in the cocoa growing communities.

Mr Kankam, said together with other consortium such as Aflatoun, Ashesi University, Fidelity, Opportunity Savings and Loans and the COCOBOD, the project was created to help and empower the youth in the construction sector (Yiedie) and the cocoa sector (MASO).

He said since its inception in 2016, about 4,500 youth in cocoa growing regions in the country were trained, adding that, the target was to train 10,800 youth by the year 2020.

The project created employment opportunities for youth by making them entrepreneurial farmers and also helped to boost cocoa production in Ghana.

Mr. Kankam said efforts were being made to create inclusive opportunities for women to also participate actively in cocoa production to ensure more sustainable cocoa sector production.

This is aimed at reducing unemployment among the youth, fighting forest loss and unsustainable land use as well as replacing the ageing cocoa farmers.

The project according to him, helped to reduce deforestation and promoted good agronomic practices delivered through high value service provision in the cocoa sector.

Alhaji Hussein Nkansah, Deputy Coordinating Director of the Adansi South District, said the project was in line with the government’s vision to ensure that more youth went into cocoa production.

He said the government put in place policies such as the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ), ‘Planting for Food and Exports’ (PFE) and subsidised fertilizers, to help boost agricultural production and promote economic growth.

He advised the youth to take advantage of the training programme to acquire skills that would help them see cocoa production as a viable business venture.

Alhaji Nkansah advised the youth to eschew reckless lifestyles, which would only predispose them to transmitted diseases and and teenage pregnancies among other worse consequences.

Madam Christiana Amponsah, the New Edubiase District Officer of the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED), said her office was currently providing services such as pruning, pollination, extension services and mass spraying for farmers to ensure increased and healthy cocoa yields.

Ms. Patience Normanyo, aged 25 from Atame Twapease and Mr. Solomon Aidoo, aged 27, from Wuruyie Adansi, both beneficiaries of the project said MASO had improved their standard of living, raised their self-esteem and made them self-reliant.

Source: Ghana News Agency