The Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Bryan Acheampong has stated that creating opportunities for roping in the youth has been paramount to the Government, underscoring the fact that youth involvement in agriculture is critical. He said this when he addressed the youth at an agriculture conference on Wednesday 18th October at the University of Ghana.
The conference sought to deepen the appreciation among the youth for the strategic shift in delivering solutions to the problems in the sector and also to take a giant step for collaboration between the Government and the youth to effectively harness the potential of agriculture.
Dr. Bryan was inspired by the positive response of the youth to the engagement which focuses on youth employment in agriculture, particularly under the new PFJ 2.0 programme, because the youth is one of the biggest actors in the agriculture sector.
According to Dr. Bryan, a conversation had already started between the Ministry and the Youth and Employment Agency (YEA) about the form of collaboration that will be taken to ensure commitment on both sides. On the side of the Government, the emmense opportunities that come with the input credit system introduced under PFJ 2 and complimentary interventions through the establishment of agriculture zones and economic enclaves were brought to the fore. For its part, YEA elaborated its intended support to the programme through capacity building, access to land and payment of stipends to benefiticiaries at the early stages of the programme
The significance of the conference cannot be overstated. First, it is very timely because it is being held when the Government has outdored a new direction for prosecuting the agenda of transforming Ghana’s Agriculture. Right from the conception of the programme, through the planning phase to the launch and now at the point of implementation, formal and information conversations with actors along the agriculture value chain and other stakeholders have centered on productivity and job creation.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture also stated the fact that PFJ 2 is designed to consolidate and build on the successes of PFJ 1. As a first priority, the programme seeks to ensure that Ghana becomes food secure within the planned implementation period. Other related objectives are, job creation, particularly for the teeming youth of the country, reducing food price inflation, building food systems resilience, and promoting import substitution and exports.
To assure the youth, achieving these objectives will inherently lead to the creation of job opportunities along the agriculture value chain. An input credit model, around which the programme revolves for instance ensures easy entry into agribusiness.