As part of Government’s agenda to support Youth in Innovative Agriculture, the sector is identified as one of the economic pillars.
Speaking at the official launch of the Youth in Innovative Agriculture, the Director of Business Support and Policy (NEIP), Mr. Franklin Owusu-Karikari, reiterated that the nexus/connection between agriculture department and Ghana’s ability to achieve its food and nutrition security goals are inextricably linked.
According to him, agriculture cannot be carried out as “business as usual”in the context of the 4th industrial revolution to attract the teeming youth of our country.
In line with this, agriculture is important to the development of any nation.
This effort seeks to change negative perception among the youth that agriculture is for the uneducated, unskilled, physical labourers with extremely low economic return.
According to him, modern agriculture is more than tilling the soil and rearing of animals.
“The sector today offers career opportunities in research, environment, financial management, engineering and other technical areas for the youth to explore”, he stated.
Mr. Owusu-Karikari noted that the support for Youth in Innovative Agriculture (YIIA) is a Government of Ghana (GOG) agricultural sector initiative for the youth under the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) with an objective of providing financial and technical support to motivate the youth to accept and appreciate farming/food production as a commercial venture.
Furthermore, he said the YIIA has the task and responsibility of mobilizing the youth to take up innovative farming and it’s other related activities as life time vocation.
“To empower the youth to use technology and other innovative ways for farming, to motivate the youth to accept innovative farming as a commercial business venture; Train youth in current modernize innovative ways of agriculture, helping the youth to generate appreciable income to meet their personal and business needs; to help the youth to improve their standard of living-through improved income.To motivate the youth to stay in rural areas to build sustainable agricultural businesses. Produce enough food crops, meat and eggs using modern methods to sustain food security in the country as a compliment to the planting for food and Jobs”, he added.
The NEIP is therefore, announcing an application for young Ghanaians to apply for the first phase of “Youth in Innovative Agriculture Support” under the Ghana Cares” Obaatanpa” programme.
He hinted that the programme seeks to enlist young people between the ages of 18-40 years who are into agriculture to be trained, on vegetables, maize, poultry and livestock, Yam/Cassava and agro processing and Fritsch, funded.
Beneficiaries of the programme will receive an amount of ¢20.000 to ¢200.000 Ghana Cedis as a flexible loan facility payable within 3-5years at an interest rate of 10%per annum.
The Ghana Cares (Obaatan participation) programme is an unprecedented, bold and audacious GH¢100 billion post Covid programme to stabilise, revitalise and transform Ghana’s economy to create jobs and prosperity for Ghanaians over a three-year period.
It is sequenced in two phase: a Stabilisation Phase that is running from July to the end of the year (2020); and a medium term Revitalization Phase from 2021-2023.
According to him, the first phase of the programme builds on the actions already taken by the government under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme, including stabilisation of the economy, ensuring food security, supporting businesses and workers, strengthening the health system and passage of legislation to facilitate quick economic recovery.
He pointed out that the second phase aims at revitalising and transforming the economy from 2021-2023 will focus on supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into agriculture, building Ghana’s light manufacturing sector, developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy, developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry, reviewing and optimising the implementation of government flagships and key programme among others.
By Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina