Some stakeholders in the agriculture sector have said that efforts should be made to dismantle barriers to youth participation in the sector.
They said that if young farmers were equipped with the requisite skills, loans were facilitated for inputs such as seed and fertiliser for crop production, fingerlings for aquaculture and links provided for them to market their products, they would be attracted into agriculture.
In an interview with a Business Development Specialist, Mr Augustine Adongo, on the occasion of the National Farmers Day celebration on Thursday, December 5, 2019, he said agric could help create decent jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for young men and women.
“Make sure those who are promoting and those who want the youth to go into agriculture have a good understanding of what it takes to succeed in business. Farming is a commercial enterprise now. It is a business and so they need technical guidance,” he said.
The bottom line, he said, was that the youth could be assisted into agriculture in a such a way that they would earn more revenue than the cost they incurred.
“That is what is called commercial viability, and that’s is what will make it a business,” he said.
The Acting Director of Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ms Paulina Addy, noted that the youth may not even have any capital to start any enterprise and so if some of the banks could focus on the youth and give them some seed money as capital, they could get into agric.
“Every venture is capital intensive. We are also looking at the entire spectrum of the value chain. With that even if you cannot start with production, you can start with post-production. There are opportunities with the urban communities where they need convenient forms of food, so we attractively package them to make them appealing,” she said.
In relation to trade, she said the youth could take to food distribution (which is part of agric) and move food crops from where they were not grown to where they could be consumed.
“So, if the youth can get some seed money as startup and they can look at all these opportunities, I think it will excite them to go into agriculture,” she stated.
A 24-year old farmer, Ms Pearl Duah, recommended that young people who were already in the field and excelling should be projected, so that other people would be inspired.
“There should also be incentives for people who are considered youth or within a certain age range so that they can also take advantage of those incentives and special opportunities. Farming should be seen as a business for the next generation,” she said.
The 35th edition was marked on December 6, 2019 in Ho in the Volta Region on the theme: “Enhancing Small-Scale Agriculture Towards Agribusiness Development.’
The aim is to honour farmers across the country for working hard to ensure the supply of food to citizens.