Creating opportunities for young people in Ghana’s cocoa sector
This paper (PDF) is published by the Youth Forward Learning Partnership, a partnership led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), The MasterCard Foundation, Global Communities, Solidaridad, NCBA-CLUSA and GOAL. It presents young people’s experiences of growing up in Ghana’s cocoa belt, and identifies key barriers to their involvement in the sector and highlights opportunities to promote their participation in cocoa farming. Based on findings from focus group discussions with youth aged 15-25 in the cocoa-growing belt and from key informant interviews, the key issues raised are access to land, finance, and skills development, as well as perceptions of the cocoa sector, particularly among women. There is currently insufficient agro-economic education or skills training for young farmers. Without education, youth are limited to working as unskilled labourers. Formal accreditation of skills and training would allow young farmers to command better wages, seek credit and investment, develop a business plan and, ultimately, increase yields. Furthermore, opportunities for young people in cocoa are not limited to the production of cocoa. The opportunity to provide services to the sector might offer an additional source of income to young people who are unable to access land or who are in the process of establishing a cocoa farm and cannot yet fund their livelihoods through the sale of cocoa beans alone. Nevertheless, young people will need sustained support from the Ghana Cocoa Board, non-governmental actors and their communities – particularly chiefs – if they are to be able to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector.