President Akufo-Addo has issued a clarion call to all young Ghanaians, both those educated and those uneducated, to rally around the flagship government initiative “Youth in Agriculture” and take up agriculture as a lifetime vocation.
He gave this charge when he addressed guests at a presidential conference on the Youth in Agriculture initiative at the Cedi Conference Centre of the University of Ghana (UoG) today, Wednesday 18 October 2023.
The president told guests: “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 and form co-operatives 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.
“Realised, this will ensure the sustainable development of agriculture for the overall benefit of our country,” Akufo-Addo said.
Touching on the state of the economy and efforts his government is making to create economic stability and growth, President Akufo-Addo said there are clear signs that the economy is on the path to recovery. The evidence is in the downward trend of inflation, he said.
“The prospects for the rebound are growing stronger and stronger. We are working hard to sustain this momentum,” the president said.
“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%.”
President Akufo-Addo expressed deep gratitude to the chief executive officer of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Kofi Agyepong, for his contribution to youth employment in his relatively short period in the CEO role at the YEA.
President Nana Akufo-Addo appointed Kofi Agyepong, the then deputy director of communications at Jubilee House – the seat of Ghana’s presidency – as the acting CEO of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) on 10 August 2022.
Agyepong replaced Justin Kodua Frimpong, who had been elected as the general secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, told the audience at the launch that the 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 in as stress-free a way as possible.
“Our invitation to young people to go into agriculture is not a hoe-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 ten acres,” Dr Acheampong said.
“This will mean putting 400,000 hectares of arable land under cultivation. The target commodities under this intervention will 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 said.
The Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP) is a Government of Ghana (GoG) agricultural sector initiative which has the objective of motivating the youth to accept and appreciate farming/food production as a commercial venture, and thereby take up farming as a lifetime vocation.
The YIAP has the task and responsibility of mobilising the youth to take up farming and related activities as a lifetime vocation. By so doing, they will derive the following benefits from employment for the youth, providing tractor services and agro-inputs.
The Youth in Agriculture Programme has the objective of making youth accept farming as a commercial business venture, generate enough income to meet farmers’ domestic and personal needs, improve young Ghanaians’ standard of living by ensuring improved income, motivate the youth to stay in the rural areas, as inputs will be delivered to their farmgate, on credit and interest-free terms, and equip young people to produce enough food crops, meat and fish using modern methods.
Youth in Agriculture has four components, namely crops/block farm, livestock and poultry, fisheries/aquaculture and agribusiness.
Anyone interested in farming, groups of young men and women in the community interested in farming and any institution that trains farmers can take advantage of the initiative.
Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra
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