President Akufo-Addo has made a clarion call 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.
He gave the charge when he addressed attendees of the presidential conference on the “Youth in Agriculture” initiative held at the Cedi Conference Centre, University of Ghana, today Wednesday, 18 October 2023.
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 Youth in Agriculture Programme (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 so doing the following benefits will be derived from the employment for the youth, through the provision of tractor services and agro–inputs.
The Youth in Agriculture 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.