Youth across Africa, converged in Accra to participate in an agricultural business programme designed to empower young men and women to enter into agriculture and related businesses.
The four-day conference, was organized by IHAV, a non-governmental organization based in Ghana which occasionally organizes topical programmes for youth to complement efforts by various governments in Africa to get the youth into agriculture.
The participants who were mainly students and graduates, whose ages range from 18-28 were drawn from 15 African countries namely; Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Guinea, Zambia, the Gambia, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
The rest were, Botswana, Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Uganda, who all arrived in Ghana last Wednesday to take part in this year’s programme.
Briefing the media on the sidelines of the programme, a volunteer, Ms Sabtiya Balogun, said “IHAV” was formed in 2012 and it was to draw
youth from different countries across the length and breadth of Africa together to share ideas on topical issues from their respective countries.
It was also to afford participants, the platform to learn and tap in new ideas from other countries through colleague participants.
Themed, “Creating an agribusiness revolution with Africa’s youth”, the conference was to create the technical know-how for participants on how to use agriculture to create wealth on their own.
As part of the conference, participants were to be put into groups to discuss different topics covering the theme after which, members of the various groups will be empowered and supported to start an activity bothering on agriculture on their own with the knowledge acquired.
Speakers were selected from all spheres of the Ghanaian political, business and leadership environment which included politicians, civil society group leaders, youth activists, motivational speakers etc.
Some of the notable speakers included, President of think tank group IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, 2012 vice- presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Aba Lokko, Mr Charles Sam, Philip Abayori, Sherri Thompson, Rudolf Owusu, John Armarh, Edinson Gbenga, Eli Benitie and Yaw Adu Gyamfi.
Two of the participants who spoke to “The Herald”, expressed optimism about the conference. A 24 year-old business student of the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Jeanne Naserian, said there was a lot of talk in her country about agribusiness and added that she was looking forward to acquire more knowledge on the topics to be treated.
She said in Kenya, agriculture is seen as job for the old, but though young, she was prepared to learn more from the conference to better her course at the university and future endeavors.
Another student, 20-year-old Food Science and Technology student of the Bowen University in Nigeria, Ibiyinka Amokeodo, traced the importance of the conference to what she is studying in school. She said the topics for the conference pushed her to participate in it.
Ms Amokeodo said, that in the past, oil which is drilled in Nigeria in large quantities has over shadowed the importance of the agricultural sector.
She added that agriculture is seen in her home country as occupation for the poor, but was quick to acknowledge that government knowing the important role it plays in the life of a country, has for some time now committed to that sector of their economy.