….As he also assures hustle-free farming
Report: Mohammed Abu, ADM Ghana
Klutse Kudomor,the National Coordinator for the Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Programme(YIAAP) under the Ministry for Food and Agriculture(MOFA) has called on all the youth in Ghana most especially, those already considering venturing into agriculture to keep the passion and to see farming as a most descent means of livelihood for their socio-economic upliftment.
He has also assured them that the days of manual labour employed for harvesting farm produce especially rice known in local Ghanaian rice industry parlance as “bam bam”, is over.
Mr.Kudomor was speaking during an interview at the Upper East Regional capital of Bolga during a three-day Roadshow for foreign potential investors/commercial farmers and their local counterparts to the Northern region of the SADA Zone last week.
This event took the form of field visits to major commercial farms mainly in the Northern Region as a prelude to the TASI Ghana pilot project launch that ended with a technical consultative workshop in Accra.
To ensure hustle-free farm production for potential youth farmers under the Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Programme(YIAAP), mechanization, seed and other input services support services is being offered under very soft terms.’
To ensure guaranteed market for farm produce of the youth farmers under the programme, off-taker agreements he said has been entered into with other parties who would readily buy their wares.
To ensure industry knowledge and skills acquisition as well as best farm practice, on the part of the youth farmers, Mr.Kluste further disclosed that his organization was entering into partnership with commercial farmers to whom they would be attached for some training.
Returns on Investments
Instead of continuing the wild geese chase after non-existent jobs in urban centres of the country, he appealed to them to give farming a chance and return to the land back home.
For a five-ten acres maize farm investment, with the support already outlined, a youth farmer Mr.Klutse said, could enjoy a monthly revenue of GHc500.00
Later in a presentation during the TASI technical Consultative Workshop in Accra, Mr.Klutse sounded an alarm bell on the country’s rising youth unemployment/ageing farmer population situation pointing out the national and food security implications.
Youth between the age range of 15-34 years he said, accounts for 40 percent of total labour force, yet out of the 25,000 youth entering the Ghanaian job market yearly, he bemoaned, only about 2 percent gain employment into the formal sector. This he said translates into 81,000/year ageing farmer population in the TASI targeted area alone.
Agric to the rescue
Nonetheless, he noted that, agriculture has the highest potential to engage the youth in viable enterprises create real and sustainable youth businesses and absorb them.
However, fundamentals that need to change for enhanced productivity and competiveness, he said, take a combination of knowledge, information and technology underpinned by structured markets .This, he noted would ensure market competiveness to gain market share by driving a wedge between price and average cost
Strategy to Address the Issue
The rationale behind the strategy, Mr.Klutse said, is for agriculture to make business meaning to the youth by making youth pockets “cool”.
“The orientation of the youth and the scale of their agribusiness enterprises has been strategically designed with such a mindset underpinning the approach
“The redesigned its projects adopting YIAAP projects is adopting a LEARN-ACHIEVE-EARN (LEA) concept for those projects.
“Existing commercial farms businesses and key experts in the selected communities have been identified and are engaged.
“Good agribusinesses are used as incubator farms or Commercial Business Partners (CBP) to enable the selected youth acquire “on the job skills” while doing their own farming”.
The Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Programme (YIAAP) is modeled upon building a generation of young commercial agricultural entrepreneur’s
Project justification Mr.Klutse said, was to attract the youth, generate raw materials for “One Village One Factory”, build on 2017 PFJ achievements to absorb more youth and feed into its market, among others.
Specific Youth in Agriculture Activities
Touching on Specific Youth in Agriculture activities Mr. Klutse said they, included, up scaling youth participation in planting and jobs (PFJ) 2018-2020,Youth-Agripreneurs Operational/Business Excellence Capacity Building, Youth Off-taker Business Capacity Building ,Youth Poultry and Agriculture Business (PF+2)and Youth in Vegetable Cultivation.