…….Akufo-Addo confesses as he launches Youth in Agriculture Programme
The President, on Wednesday, outdoored a Youth in Agriculture programme with a call on the Ghanaian youth, to take advantage of the incentive packages inherent in the programme to venture into agriculture as another job creation avenue.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, noted that youth unemployment was a challenge to the country, but his government was committed to addressing the scourge among the youth through innovative interventions like the Agriculture programme.
The Youth in Agriculture Programme programme is collaboration between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture MOFA and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) n.
At the University of Ghana in Accra on Wednesday October 18, 2023, the President, urged the youth to rally around the initiative to form co-operatives and partnerships to derive the needed benefits to accrue from the implementation of the programme.
He explained that with the off-taker arrangement and the incentive packages spelt out in the initiative, there was no excuse on the part of the youth not to venture into Agriculture.
He predicted that a successful implementation of the programme could lead to a food supply increase and a decline in food cost in Ghana, and expressed the hope that Ghana would witness a drastic reduction in food inflation to a single digit by the end of his tenure in office.
The President lauded the efforts by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of YEA, Kofi Baah Agyepong, for his foresight in bringing transformation to the Agency, which is inuring to the benefit of the majority of the youth.
According to him, a lot has been achieved under the new YEA administration and called on all young Ghanaians, both educated and uneducated, to rally around the new flagship government initiative, “Youth in Agriculture” and to take up agriculture as a lifetime vocation.
The President in his address noted that “it is obvious that expanded opportunities for the youth are inherent in the design of the programme (Youth in Agriculture) which focuses on value-chain development.
“To take advantage of this opportunity, I urge the youth to rally around this initiative (Youth in Agriculture) and form cooperatives and partnerships for the maximum benefit of the programme.
“Sustaining Ghana’s agriculture is dependent on the youth. The youth are obviously the future of this country and we count on their vibrancy, fresh ideas, and innovation to improve our collective fortune” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Agriculture, a major sector of the economy, awaits the participation of the youth both educated and uneducated. This dialogue, this platform is a valuable step towards harnessing the potential of the youth to address the challenges in the agriculture sector. Realized, this will ensure the sustainable development of agriculture for the overall benefit of our country” Akufo-Addo added.
Touching on the state of the economy and efforts his administration is making in order to bring economic stability and growth, President Akufo-Addo, said there are clear signs that the economy is on a recovery path and the evidence of it is in a downward trend of inflation.
“The prospects for the rebound are growing stronger and stronger. We are working hard to sustain this momentum. Inflation has reduced from 54.1% in December 2022 to 38.1% in September and there is every indication that by the end of the year, it will be around 27%. By the end of my tenure next year, 15%” the President stated.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, indicated that the new “Youth in Agriculture” initiative which is a component of the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, is designed to support the youthful population to go into agriculture as stress-free as possible.
“Our invitation to young people to go into agriculture is not a hole and cutlass business. Through the collaboration between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the YEA under the banner, “PFJ 2.0 Youth in Agriculture,” we are going to put 200,000 youth into permanent work in agriculture with each individual cultivating an average farm size of 10 acres” Bryan Acheampong said.
“This will mean putting 400,000 hectares of arable land under cultivation. The target commodities under this intervention would include maize, rice, and vegetables.
“However, if we put all the 400,000 hectares of land under rice cultivation alone, we will exceed our food self-sufficiency production target of 1.8 million metric tonnes in two years instead of the five-year plan under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme” the Food and Agriculture Minister added.
The YIAP is a Government of Ghana (GOG) agricultural sector initiative with the objective of motivating the youth to accept and appreciate farming/food production as a commercial venture, thereby taking up farming as a lifetime vocation.
The YIAP, has the task and responsibility of mobilizing the youth to take up farming and its other related activities as a lifetime vocation. By doing so the following benefits will be derived from the employment for the youth, through the provision of tractor services and agro–inputs.
The Programme has the objective of making youth accept farming as a commercial business venture, generate appreciable income to meet farmers’ domestic and personal needs, improve the standard of living of the youth through improved income, motivate the youth to stay in rural areas, as inputs will be delivered at their farm gate, on credit basis and interest-free and to produce enough food crops, meat and fish using modem methods.
The Youth in Agriculture has four (4) components namely; Crops / Block Farm, Livestock and Poultry, Fisheries/Aquaculture, and Agribusiness. Any person interested in farming, groups of young men and women in the community interested in farming and any institution which trains farmers can take advantage of the initiative.
The Minister of Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, in his remarks also noted that the Ministry remained resolute in exploring various avenues of addressing youth unemployment and Agriculture holds promise in that regard.
He explained that one of the quickest solutions to addressing unemployment was to harness agriculture because studies had revealed that Agriculture was one sector area that was not well tapped to derive the benefits of job creation among the youth.
Mr Baah Agyapong encouraged the youth of Ghana interested in Agriculture.
He explained that the detailed incentive packages were to motivate the young farmers to venture into Agriculture and address the stigma faced by young graduates desirous to go into farming.