New project to create more jobs in Ghana’s cocoa sector

Cocoa-farmersA new five-year project has been launched in Ghana to create job opportunities for the youth in the cocoa sector.

It is being implemented jointly by the Cocobod, Solidaridad, Aflatoun, Ashesi University and Fidelity Bank.

The project involves providing relevant technical, financial and business development skills to aid the youth to build careers in the cocoa industry.

Known as “MASO”, the expectation is that it would give about 200,000 employment to young people in Ghana and one other African country, Uganda, 40 per cent of them would be women.

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian NGO, is spearheading the project with support from Overseas Development Institute, GOAL and Global Communities.

Ms. Dina Randrianasolo, Associate Programme Manager of the Foundation, speaking at its formal launch in New Edubiase in the Adansi South District, said they were targeting people between the ages of 18 and 25, in the rural communities.

They were convinced that young people could realize their potentials and improve their livelihoods if they had access to the right skills and opportunities, she added.

She highlighted the significant contribution of cocoa to Ghana’s economy – accounting for eight per cent of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) and supporting approximately 6.3 million families, almost 30 per cent of the population.

“Despite this, the sector is at risk of a decline in production. But with modern inputs, innovative technology and the youth, the sector could be revitalized.”

She indicated that with “Ghana exporting 22 per cent of the world’s cocoa and demand rising three per cent every year, there is tremendous opportunity for young men and women in the country”.

Mr. Isaac Gyamfi, West African Regional Director of Solidaridad, said the youth in the rural communities, many of them, unable to pursue higher education, stood to gain immensely from the project.

Mrs. Faustine Asamany, Regional Manager of the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED), said it was a right step and would help to substantially raise cocoa production.

She hinted that Cocobod had already registered about 46,000 young people for the project.

She complained about the destructive activities of illegal gold miners and said this had become a major threat to the cocoa industry.

Source: GNA

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