The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board says the international prices of cocoa is not motivating enough to encourage the youth to enter the sector.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo said at the 2017 World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Partnership Meeting on October 24 in Washington that low prices of cocoa on the international scene is deterring the youth from entering into cocoa farming in Ghana.
Mr. Aidoo downplayed the expectation of the international market for the farmers to produce per demand only and not in excess.
"It must, however, be noted that cocoa production is not easily amenable to control in the short-to-medium term, as the case may be with oil and other industrial production processes", he said.
“Prices are the best fertilizer for improving livelihoods. Cocoa prices send signals to farmers as to the amount of time and labor to invest in cocoa production. Thus, low prices constitute a major threat to the sustainability of the industry”, he said in his speech.
He noted that the children of most cocoa farmers will not dare to go near their parents’ profession because of the discouraging income. In reference to one Opanin Kwasi Oti who lives at Sefwi Boako and has a 5-hectare cocoa farm, Mr. Aidoo said none of his five children has found the conviction to enter their father’s trade.
Kwesi Oti is facing an increasingly unpredictable climate, rising labor cost, low international prices resulting in low producer price and part of his farm has been affected by the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD), he added.
He also mentioned illegal mining as a major challenge to cocoa production in both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire who are the major cocoa producers in the world recording more than 60% of the world’s cocoa. He added that both countries are working to fight the menace together.
He also said that Mr. Oti like many farmers in his position are being forced to sell their farmlands to illegal miners for a hefty fee since the prices of cocoa are not encouraging anyway.
Note, this is not a local problem. Cote d’Ivoire faces same. The two countries have jointly put in a request for funding from the African Development Bank. The sooner the funding the better for Ghana, else I am afraid we may lose a sizeable amount of our cocoa farmland to 'galamsey', he added.
He added that the foregoing processes demonstrate that COCOBOD has packaged interventions that basically aim at enhancing efficiency and productivity of the Ghanaian farmer.
“This is being done not only to discourage farmers from selling their farmlands but it is also meant to make cocoa farming a lucrative venture and attractive to the youth,” he said.