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04 October 2016

Youth needed in farming – Cocobod

cocoa-farmerThe Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has said there is the need to encourage more youth to venture into agriculture because the older generation of farmers must be replaced by young people.

This follows comments by the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil that young people should not be pushed into agriculture as a solution to the country’s food needs.

In a sermon to his congregants on Sunday October 3, Dr Otabil said the nation’s food security did not lie in the number of persons engaged in agriculture but rather the quality of farming done.

“It’s not the number of people in farming, it’s the quality of the farming and we shouldn’t be pushing young bright people and say: ‘Go to the land!’. That’s not the way. I don’t want to have people with talent reduced to farmers and miners and workers with their body. I want people to work with their brain, with their ideas,” he said.

But Public Relations Officer of COCOBOD, Noah Amenyah, speaking to Class News, rejected Dr Otabil’s assertion. According to him, the agricultural sector requires the involvement of young people to enable it develop because they learn faster and have the best skills needed.

“I’m sure the guy who may have suggested that we should use mechanisation is not an agriculturalist, because if you are an agriculturalist you will know this (cocoa) is a tree crop and cocoa as a tree, it bears fruit along the branches and the stem [and] we have not developed to that stage yet. Our agriculture is still low and, therefore, it will remain this for quite a long time so the youth must be encouraged because the farmers are ageing and if someone suggests we shouldn’t do that but we should mechanise, let the person, if he is an agricultural engineer, come with the type of engineering solution to this so that we will see that this is an engineering solution that will let our aged farmers continue to be farmers and let the youth go roaming about in the streets,” he stated.

Mr Amenyah noted that young persons must be encouraged because “the youth that have been attracted under the Youth in Cocoa Programme, numbering about 45,000 now, if you look at their productivity – that is the quantity of cocoa that they produce per hectare – it is higher than that of the average farmers and the reason is that they are much more knowledgeable, they take instructions easily because they are young, they are exposed because some have completed school…”

Source: classfmonline.com

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