Introducing youth into cocoa sector will grow industry – Solidaridad

The Head of Gender and QMS of Solidaridad, Stephanie Donu Sarpong, has said reiterated the need to lift the cocoa sector by introducing young people and supporting them through financial literacy.

Mrs Sarpong made the comments at the Close-Out Session’s Next Generation Cocoa Youth Programme in the Ho West District.

The programme was to acknowledge all the stakeholders for their support and seek support for the youth and also get feedback to enable them to improve upon similar activities.

“It is necessary to help lift up the cocoa sector by the introduction of young people into the sector which would them to become financially independent,” Stephanie Donu Sarpong said.

Principal Technical Officer at the Cocoa Health Extension Division of Cocoa Board, Boaz Ofosu Asiedu noted that the programme has impacted positively on the society especially the youths.

CEO of Opportunity International, Francis Owusu Ansah talked about giving them credit to improve on their work.  

Two of the beneficiaries, Honor Mawusi and Ali Fawisi noted that with the introduction of the programme, some of them can boast of acres of cocoa lands as international exposure.

“I have really benefited from the program and i have also had opportunities to travel to other countries to learn,” Mawusi said.

The programme, though officially over, will continue to help the youths in their chosen career path.

MASO was a five-year programme implemented between January 2016 and December 2020 and focused on providing viable career options for the youth in cocoa-growing communities in Ghana.

It was part of the Youth Forward Initiative funded by the Mastercard Foundation and implemented by six consortium members, made up of Solidaridad, Aflatoun International, Ashesi University, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, Opportunity International, and the Ghana Cocoa Board. 

The programme has created a critical mass of young entrepreneurial cocoa farmers, as well as youth-led professional service providers within the Ghanaian cocoa landscape.

Over 13,000 young men (57%) and women (43%) in 341 cocoa-growing communities in the Ahafo, Ashanti, Central, Oti, Volta, Western, and Western North regions enrolled in the programme, with over 9,500 of them equipped with relevant tools and skills to take up cocoa farming and related businesses. 

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