Gbadago Nicholas Kwabena (37) known as Anelka is an inspiring young cocoa farmer in Sefwi Bekwai, Ghana. Born and raised in an agricultural society encouraged him to be a farmer. He found an opportunity in cocoa farming amid the high unemployment rate among youth in Ghana.
I think around 2011. My parents own farmland, specifically a cocoa farm. So, I have engaged in the farming business and cocoa farmers since I was young.
When I was young, I want to be a farmer. I realized that I want to leverage the cocoa farm then I decided to engage in cocoa farming. On the other hand, I was looking for another situation or another opportunity but not a white-collar job per se. At that time, I was really concerned about the unemployment situation in Ghana.
Actually, if you own the land then you automatically become a farmer; so that happened to me. But, it’s also because of unemployment. There is no white-collar job available at that moment. Therefore, I want to encourage other youth to see the opportunity in farming.
Indeed, my parents taught me how to be a farmer. But I also learn by myself. I studied a lot about cocoa, the texture of the land, hybrid cacao, and many more.
First, I have liberty, I know how to record at the end of the year. Indeed, cocoa farming is a process of weeding, spraying, and drying and you need to record all these activities. Then, at the end of each year, you know whether you gain profit or not.
Second, being a farmer gives me an opportunity to engage with regulators and buyers. We can give input to them, for example about transparency. But the most enjoyable thing as a farmer is I can encourage people on how to do cocoa farm.
As I have mentioned before, transparency. Lack of transparency between buyers, regulators, and farmers. These discouraged people to become cocoa farmers. Moreover, the lack of incentives and exercise, and the high cost of labor, and bonuses push the farmers to sell their land for mining. The farmers gained more money from selling the land to the gold mining companies.
My hope is one day the regulators or buyers can be transparent to us, the farmers. Because it can encourage more people to be engaged in cocoa farming. It also helps for reducing unemployment in the country. Moreover, I am hoping to get partners from around the world so they can support the farmers in Ghana. The more support that the farmers get, the more they enjoy their labor. Last, I wish that we (the cooperative) can buy our own produce. Unfortunately, we are stuck with finance. We need the budget to obtain the license, but the license from the regulator is very expensive.
Everybody believes in technology. Technology boosts farmer confidence; we are not sitting back in fear. We are meeting others farmers during the training when we are introduced to technology.
AgUnity is a great application, it helps transparency. The record-keeping in the application is very helpful, we don’t need to do it manually. It will be better if AgUnity can upgrade the application to support the scale, so the buyers can’t cheat the scale. For example, the farmers can scale their commodities before going to buyers. So, the farmers know the quantity and input it in the app, which will eliminate the cheating aspect.
First of all, I want to thank them for engaging in this business. That’s a lot of discouragement from other laborers. I encourage them to do more and fight for their right. Engage with others organizations, like AgUnity. That’s all I want to say.