The acting Managing Director of the Quality Control Division of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Nana Karikari Addo, has encouraged educated unemployed youth to embark on cocoa farming.

He said the production of the crop was no more the preserve of the aged.

He said adequate measures, under the Productivity Enhancement Programme (PEP), had been put in place to boost the yield of cocoa in order to increase the income of farmers and make life easy for them.

Nana Addo said the cultivation of cocoa was now a business and those who ventured into it and adhered to the directions of the PEP would reap from their sweat and toil.

At a forum organised for cocoa farmers in the Asunafo North and Asunafo South districts in Goaso in the Ahafo Region to educate them about the number of interventions that had been put in place to boost the production of cocoa, Nana Addo asked the farmers to make use of the various extension officers sent to their farms to assist them to improve their level of productivity.

The PEP, he said, included the cutting of cocoa infected by diseases for free, payment for fertiliser bags in instalments, the implementation of artificial pollination and the provision of free seedlings to farmers.

The forum was also used to educate the farmers on the proper application of chemicals to treat their cocoa farms.

Nana Addo asked the farmers to use only chemicals that had been certified by COCOBOD since fake products could harm their farms.

He told the farmers that even though their children could assist them in farming, that should not be a hindrance to their education.

The Omanhene of the Goaso Traditional Area, Nana Kwasi Bosomprah, commended the government for the implementation of the flexible payment system for the purchase of fertiliser for the maintenance of cocoa farms.

He called on cocoa farmers to take advantage of the flexible fertiliser payment system to properly maintain their farms to improve their yields.

He asked them to adopt best and modern agronomic practices.

“It is better to have a small but well-maintained farm than a big farm which is not well-maintained,” he stated.

Nana Bosomprah also warned cocoa farmers against the use of children during school hours on their farms, explaining that such practices were not acceptable, both in Ghana and internationally.