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Why few young people in Ghana are becoming cocoa farmers these days

20 augustus 2019

Cocoa farmer is not a popular profession in Ghana. More and more young people are moving to the city to look for work there. But why do young people no longer want to become cocoa farmers? And what is a good reason to become a cocoa farmer? The Dutch Royal Tropical Institute did an extensive research into this in 2017. In this blog we have summarized the most important findings for you. 

Education determines your motivation  
Young people look at work differently. That's because young people have more access to education than previous generations. Education ensures that young people today develop motivations for professions that previously seemed unattainable, while it used to be more common that you go into cocoa. Today, young people prefer to start a business in the city, for example. According to the KIT study, there is a big difference between having to become a cocoa farmer and wanting to become a cocoa farmer. And even today there is still a large group of young people who have not had any education. Cocoa is the only option for them. 

A life of uncertainty 
Young people who do have a choice prefer not to choose cocoa. According to KIT, cocoa has become a less popular sector for various reasons. First of all, it is physically demanding work: think of long days in the sun, often working unprotected with pesticides and machetes and lifting heavy weights. Another reason is the lack of available country. Some young people are lucky t inherit a piece of land, but often they are the oldest children in a family. To buy a piece of land you first have to earn the money. That money is hard to earn with little employment (except working on a cocoa plantation). If you want to start a cocoa plantation as a young cocoa farmer, you can rent a piece of land. For example, you pay the rent for the land by giving up half of your harvest. But if you don't harvest, you have a big debt. Which means great risk. Moreover, you only earn income for half of the year in with cocoa; that is because the cocoa season lasts from September to March. The rest of the year you have to get your income from something else. As a cocoa farmer, you also have to wait for that income. That is why many young people prefer work that pays immediately instead. For example, if you start a business in the city, then you have the money that you earned that day in your pocket the same day. 

 
Investments in the cocoa sector mare making it popular again  
There are also young people who actually opt for a life in the cocoa. These are mainly young people above 26 years of age. They see it as a good investment, because you will be left with something later. Life in the city is expensive and therefore you can hardly save. As a cocoa farmer you can borrow from the bank. This is useful if, for example, your child becomes ill and you have to pay the medical costs. A second factor that makes the cocoa sector popular again are the investments made in the sector by large companies or institutions, for example. Think of investing in cooperatives and premiums. Thanks to cooperatives, cocoa farmers, for example, can jointly purchase equipment, pesticides and other supplies that they cannot afford on their own. The premiums show that more and more chocolate companies understand that the world cocoa price is not enough to make ends meet. 

So, Big Choco and governments .. invest!  
If you ask us, big choco and the government must invest in the cocoa sector to make it attractive to Ghanaian youth again. By entering into long-term relationships with cocoa farmers, but also by improving quality and productivity together, by supporting cooperatives and ensuring that farmers are stronger and by making cocoa beans 100% traceable. Does that sound familiar? Yes, because those are our five cooperation principles. Read more about them here. 


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