Solidaridad, an international civil society organization, as part of its push towards securing the future of cocoa production in Ghana, has equipped 1,500 young people with skills to support the sector.
This was done under its Next Generation Youth Cocoa Programme (MASO), which involves training the youth to become entrepreneurial farmers and to set up supporting agro-based businesses.
The programme has the dual goal of helping to reduce youth unemployment and boosting cocoa production.
The beneficiaries were drawn from four regions – Central, Ashanti, Ahafo and Western North.
Mr. Philip Kankam, Coordinator of the MASO Cocoa Academy, at a graduation ceremony held for the trainees in New Edubiase, said the programme was focused on encouraging more Ghanaian youth to go into cocoa production to support the ageing population of cocoa farmers.
He added that, “Solidaridad provides skills to out-of-school youth in cocoa growing communities aged between 18-25 years to be able to earn a living in the sector”.
Since its start in 2016, it has equipped a total of about 3,500 youth in cocoa growing regions to go into cocoa farming and or set up businesses to support the cocoa sector.
Mr. Kankam advised the youth to take advantage of the programme to acquire entrepreneurial skills, earn employment and support the cocoa sector in their various communities.
Ms. Patience Normanyo, a 25-year old beneficiary, from Twapease in the Adansi South District, recounted how the programme had improved her economic situation and made her self-reliant.
“After unsuccessfully securing job in the city in 2016, I returned to the village where MASO was introduced to me.
“When I joined, MASO trained me in cocoa production and now I know a lot about cocoa farming. I have established a one-and-half-acre cocoa farm of my own.
The programme is funded by the Mastercard Foundation and implemented by Solidaridad in partnership with Aflatoun International, Ghana Cocoa Board, Fidelity Bank, Ashesi University and Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited in the Central, Western North, Ashanti, Volta, Oti and Ahafo Regions.