By Michael Oberteye:
Youth and agricultural stakeholders from all over the country have come together in the second edition of the Young People in Agribusiness Forum at Amasaman in the Ga-West district of the Greater Accra region. The forum, held under the theme ‘Making Agriculture Great Again: The Secret Unfold,’ provided an opportunity for the youth to show their skills, creativity, and innovativeness in agribusiness, and also relate with other youths, development partners, and stakeholders in the sector.
The forum hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency at its Amasaman office was organized by the Ako Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Blue Skies Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Agripreneurs Africa, the Business Advisory Center, Farmart and Krivest LTD.
The forum served as a platform for aggregating agripreneurs across the country and escalating the impact of their activities on agriculture and development in the country.
The Young People in Agribusiness Forum targets youths in Ghana who are active in agribusiness or the agriculture sector or related value chains; who are promoting their own innovation for increased production and marketing; who are currently members in a youth network or association, and possess skills to share and disseminate agribusiness information and knowledge; and who have the potential of being a youth mentor and/or incubate through incubation activities.
The forum comprised a day’s conference/workshop with thematic discussions and presentations of success stories, brainstorming as well an opportunity for networking among participants. Other activities also gave agripreneurs an opportunity to demonstrate and showcase the success and business potential of agribusinesses across the country. Plenary presentations were made by speakers to showcase how they designed solutions addressing the typical challenges facing young people who have ventured into agribusiness.
In an interview with Rite news, Mr. Kwame Ofori – Director of Ako Foundation noted that a study of the country’s GDP indicates that agriculture employs about 70% of the total population of the labour force, an indication that the sector plays a significant role in the country’s labour force. Such indicators he added called for a vibrant participation of young people in the field of agribusiness.
According to him, it was therefore imperative to bring all stakeholders together to share their experiences.
‘Young people are future leaders and if the economy must move forward, then it is imperative to bring the stakeholders together to share their experiences,’ Mr. Ofori asserted. According to him, the Ako Foundation is focused on its three priority areas including Agribusiness, Environment and Advocacy for the voiceless.
Lilian Adukumi, Programmes Oficer at the Environmental Protection Agency, Accra West Regional office questioned the rationale behind the issue of joblessness among the country’s youth when several opportunities abound in the agric sector.
On his part, Corporate Affairs Manager of the Blue Skies Foundation, Mr. Alistair Djimatey who spoke on the subject ‘Reducing Youth Unemployment Through Agribusiness’ also expressed disappointment in government’s inability to take advantage of the several opportunities that abound in the agricultural sector.
Director of Agriculture from the Department of Agric in the Ga West Municipality, Mr. Abraham Annan noted that the platform provided a good opportunity for participants to interact and share ideas. According to him, a lot of opportunities abound in the agric value chain which can be harnessed for maximum benefits.
Other speakers included Mr. Nicholas Amartey, founder of Agripreneurs Africa who spoke on the topic, ‘building a competitive agribusiness sector for a sustainable Africa,’ Mr. Freeman Boatri, CEO of Frerox Agro Farm Ltd who equally spoke about ‘agribusiness has investment opportunities in Ghana’ as well as Madam Mariam Yeboah-Appiah who is CEO of Krivest Ltd who also spoke on ‘Proposal writing – winning the heart of donors and Madam Juliana Bemah Adubufour of the Business Advisory Center, BAC.