The Rev. Emmanuel Ahia Klotey, Deputy Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), said the situation where chiefs, land owners and farmers had kept releasing lands and cutting down farms to give way to gold mining could have serious consequences for the cocoa industry.
Efforts at attaining production targets would struggle, if this went unchecked, he added.
He was addressing the annual conference of the “Kookoo Pa Farmers Association” held in Nyinahin in the Atwima-Mponua District. The event held under the theme “Increasing sustainable cocoa production in Ghana – the role of the youth” was also used to pay premium to farmers.
The Rev Klotey underlined that the youth eager to go into cocoa growing needed to be assisted with access to land to help not only to boost production but enable them to create wealth for themselves.
He made reference to the youth in cocoa production programme introduced by the Cocobod, and said, the goal was to entice the young people into the crop’s cultivation to revamp the sector. That, he indicated, was the way forward to maintain the country’s position as leader in quality cocoa production.
He spoke of the determination of the Cocobod to create opportunities and provide incentives to farmers to increase yield and returns, citing, free distribution of seedlings and inputs supply.
Mr. Stephen Yeboah, the District Chief Executive (DCE), praised cocoa farmers for their immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the nation.
He appealed to the youth in the area to take advantage of the interventions by the Cocobod to go into cocoa farming to transform their living conditions.
Mr. Vincent Frimpong Manu, Board Chairman of the “Kookoo Pa Farmers Association”, said it would continue to help and encourage farmers to adopt modern agronomic practices to raise production.
He counseled farmers to make sure they adhered strictly to the advice by extension officers.
Mr. Fred Amponsah, Executive Director of the Association, said all of its 7,260 members had passed the external audit process and therefore certified as quality cocoa beans producers.
The farmers received a premium payment of GHȼ10 on each bag of cocoa sold.