Solidaridad West Africa, lead implementer of the Next Generation Cocoa Youth programme (MASO) has formally brought to an end the initiative after series of engagements in beneficiary communities and districts.
The five-year programme was implemented between January 2016 and December 2020, and focused on providing viable career options for the youth in cocoa-growing communities in Ghana.
It was also part of the Youth Forward Initiative funded by the Mastercard Foundation, implemented by six consortium members, made up of Solidaridad, Aflatoun International, Ashesi University, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, Opportunity International, and the Ghana Cocoa Board.
The programme has created a critical mass of young entrepreneurial cocoa farmers, as well as youth-led professional service providers within the Ghanaian cocoa landscape.
According to data available, over 13,000 young men (57%) and women (43%) in 341 cocoa-growing communities in the Ahafo, Ashanti, Central, Oti, Volta, Western, and Western North regions enrolled in the programme.
Over 9,500 of them equipped with relevant tools and skills to take up cocoa farming and related businesses. Through the programme, more than 4,100 youth have established cocoa farms totalling 1,458 hectares while others were involved in setting up 449 service centres.
Background of the Project
Since May 3, 2021 Solidaridad has been engaging with stakeholders in 341 programme communities in 11 beneficiary districts to take stock of the project and its achievements.
In Dzolopuita in the Ho West District of the Volta Region, where one of such engagements was held, the Regional Director for Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi, said the MASO programme demonstrated the viability of cocoa farming and thus, motivated many youth to venture into the trade.
He, however, called on stakeholders, particularly landowners and financial service providers to prioritize access to land and finance for young people who have interest in cocoa production but struggle with resources.
He thanked the partners and stakeholders for the support and encouraged the beneficiaries to continue applying the knowledge and skills, they have acquired to improve their livelihoods.