The 2022 National Best Farmer, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, the Akyimpenhene of Asante Juaben Traditional Council, has organised a mentorship forum for the students of Koforidua Technical University to encourage them to take up agriculture as a serious business.
The forum forms part of the Rethink initiative by the office of the 2022 National Best Farmer in partnership with the Kosmos Innovation Center and Ghana Exim Bank, to inspire the youth to consider agriculture and the opportunities along its value chain as more than a traditional vocation but an avenue of multiple opportunities.
The forum themed “Opportunities along the Agricultural Value Change” engaged policymakers and stakeholders to come out with policies to empower the youth and also facilitate their access to finance.
The Rethink programme was conceived to bring together young intellectual minds to unravel the big questions in Agriculture and it value chain, thus the Young Agripreneurs Forum was a gathering of great minds as the panelists shared their experiences,” he noted.
Nana Yaw Sarpong Siribour who is the Chief Executive Officer of Siriboe Farms mentioned that the forum addressed many challenges young people encounter in the sector and also showcased the numerous opportunities inherent in the agricultural value chain.
He said the “Rethink Agriculture” programme is expected to equip the youth with the tools, knowledge, information, education and skills that will not only help sustain agricultural legacy but transform it into a force that drives innovation and economic growth.
He further said that though he was a trained engineer by profession, it was imperative for him to encourage the youth to lead the transformative shift in the agricultural sector as a profession that does not only improve the well-being of the individual but also plays a pivotal role in socio-economic development of the country.
Commenting on the initiative, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, the Executive Director for Kosmos Innovation Center who was the guest of honour, said agriculture offered ready jobs adding that the programme was aligned with the renewed focus of the Kosmos to fashion out new approaches to agriculture.
Benjamin Gyan-Kesse entreated the beneficiaries to take the training seriously to build upon their skills in animal rearing, crop plantation and other agric opportunities.
He urged the beneficiaries and youth in tertiary schools not to see agriculture as a venture for the academically poor.
According to him agriculture and agri-business could be a tool to create jobs for the youth and address unemployment challenge facing the country.
He called on the tertiary students in the Eastern region to leverage on all the opportunities Kosmos present to them by engaging in event such as the Young Agripreneurs Forum because his office is ready to assist them to bring what they have studied into a meaningful space.
For his part, Franklin Owusu- Karikari, Director of National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NIEP) stated that his office has completed training of over 25,000 applicants in the Youth in Innovative Agriculture Programme under Ghana Cares Obaatanpa Programme.
He said, the shortlisted applicants received funding and technical support after they have gone through training and mentoring.
According to Franklin Owusu- Karikari the programme is part of government’s efforts toward supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into agriculture to help ensure food security and to help close the country’s food import substitution gap.
He encouraged to venture into agriculture because farming is a business with good returns.
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