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15.07.2006 General News

Low patronisation of agriculture by the youth despite incentives

By Erastus Asare-Donkor
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The Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment Mrs. Fremah Osei Opare has regretted that in spite of all the incentives available to make the cocoa industry and agriculture more lucrative, it is not attracting the country's youth to show the desired interest in agriculture.

She entreated the public and opinion leaders in society to encourage the youth to take up agriculture, emphasizing cocoa farming as an occupation. The Deputy Minister, Manpower Youth and Employment was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 12th Annual General Meeting of Kuapa Kooko Limited today in Kumasi.

She announced that the National Youth Employment and Job creation programme of government places priority on Youth-in Agri-businesses which will ensure the effective solution of problems discouraging the youth from going into farming.

Mrs Frema Osei Opare noted that government is pursuing the improvement of warehousing facilities at the various cocoa take-over centres in the country, to promote speedy evacuation of cocoa from the hinterlands. The 12th Annual General Meeting of Kuapa Kooko Limited brought together over 500 farmers forming the Kuapa Kooko Farmers union and representatives from the Day Chocolate Company based in the UK.

Majority of the cocoa farmers were not happy about the delays in payment of their cocoa produce recently and called on government to equip the buyers with enough funds to enable them pay farmers instantly for their produce and not on credit bases. Some also appealed to government to improve the nature of roads in the rural areas where majority of the farmers are, to facilitate the smooth transport of cocoa and other farm produce to the cities and towns at a lower cost. Mr. P.C.K Boah was elected as the President of the Kuapa Kooko Farmer's Union and prizes were also awarded to deserving farmers.

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