Solidaridad, an international civil society organisation and TN Delfah, a local travel and tour agency have come together to assist schoolchildren to learn about cocoa by touring cocoa farms.
About 100 children from the De Youngsters International and the Jack and Jill basic schools, both in Accra, were taken on a sponsored tour dubbed: the 'Cocoa Learning Experience.’
The tour took them to the famous Tetteh Quashie Cocoa Farm at Mampong and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, (CRIG) at Tafo, both in the Eastern Region.
The trip was to help the pupils appreciate the role cocoa plays in the Ghanaian economy and develop interest in the cocoa sector at an early stage.
At both sites, the pupils were taken through the different processes and varieties of products made from cocoa.
The Programme Manager of Solidaridad, Mr Fred Frimpong, advised the youth to develop interest in cocoa.
He said the high unemployment rate in the country could be reduced if the youth capitalised on job opportunities in the cocoa industry.
On her part, the Chief Executive of TN Delfah Travel and Tour, Mrs Tina Amenyah, thanked Solidaridad for supporting the initiative.
“We realised that the youth had limited appreciation of the real value and opportunities that the cocoa crop offers them and the Ghanaian economy.”
“So we decided to start this as part of our local tourism drive and also create an avenue for the younger generation to develop interest in cocoa so that with time, some may become entrepreneurs in the cocoa value chain,’’ she said.
Recent studies show that the average age of cocoa farmers in the country is between 55 and 65 years.
With the initiative, Mrs Amenyah said children would be introduced to the crop with the hope that some could grow to become researchers and cocoa scientists besides the mainstream farmers.
Two other schools in the Ashanti Region would also benefit from the sponsored tour.
Ghana produced over one million metric tons of cocoa beans in 2011. Since then, cocoa output has averaged 850,000 tons annually due to factors that include pest invasion and unfavourable weather.