The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, took time off his schedule to visit a seven-year old hybrid cocoa farm at Kona in the Sekyere South district of the Ashanti Region.
The visit to the 27 acre-plot of farmland belonging to a Kuapa Kokoo farmer, Agyen Brefo, which is believed to be part of efforts to support sustainable production of the cash-crop, afforded the Prince an opportunity to witness cocoa farming first-hand – from the acquisition of seeds to harvesting.
On arrival at Kona after a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace, which coincided with the ‘Akwasidae’ celebrations – a sacred day for the people of Asanteman – the Konahene, Nana Konadu Yiadom Kumain IV, presented some traditional gifts to Prince Charles.
The owner of the cocoa farm, Mr. Agyen Brefo – a returnee from Israel, after taking his guest around the farm urged the youth to eschew the mindset that farming is only for poor, aged and uneducated people.
He said rather than moving to urban centres to seek non-existent jobs, the youth should move into farming – given how lucrative it is, and that they should take over from aging cocoa farmers.
On average, he said, he harvests about 15,000 bags of cocoa during both the main and light crop seasons.
Also, he noted Kuapa Kokoo has invested in training its members on good agronomic practices, ethical labour practices, health care and women empowerment programmes to ensure socio-economic balance.
The Internal Control Officer of Kuapa Kokoo at the Agona district, Mr. Gottfried Baidoo who serves as extension officer to the cocoa farmers in the Kona area, encouraged the youth to take advantage of some of the initiatives introduced by Kuapa Kokoo aimed at attracting them into cocoa farming.
He also encouraged cocoa farmers to follow instructions given to them by their ‘farm officers’.
He said farm yields will only increase when they heed certified instructions and best farm practices given to them by farm officers.
Prior to visiting the farm and the call on the Asantehene at the Manhyia Palace, Prince Charles toured the newly-constructed Kejetia Market and also visited the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).