Producer and buyer collaborate in enticing youth to the farms

6. Youth farmers awardedWith 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 (the youth bracket), Africa has the youngest population in the world. The current trend indicates that this figure will double by 2045, according to the 2012 African Economic Outlook.

Many African youth are leaving the farms in the rural areas for what they consider ‘greener pastures’ in the cities. Succession farming is an issue the aging farmers and countries have to grapple each season after another.

In efforts to motivate the youth to see farming as a viable venture, one Fairtrade cocoa cooperative from Ghana, ABOCFA (Aponoapono Biakoye Organic Cocoa Farmers Association) in collaboration with their Dutch buyer Tony Chocolonely,  instituted an award scheme using part of the Fairtrade Premium to recognise and motivate best performing young cocoa farmers.

To do this a committee comprising seven members was set up to manage the nomination process adhering to a strict scoring procedure. The average score computed was a result of three assessments The first was an assessment of their understanding of Fairtrade standards; the second was on the state of their farms and in the final one, the contestants had a chance to grade each other.

In the end, the best 10 farmers received awards. Samuel Akunor who emerged the winner, was awarded a 48 inch Samsung digital flat screen television, a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, a Solo Mist Blower, a Pruner, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), Wellington boots and 2 Cutlasses and to crown it all 1 box of Tony Chocolonely big size chocolate.