By Jessica Ahedor
Global population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, with youth (aged 15–24) accounting for about 14 percent of this total.
While the world’s youth cohort is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth, particularly those living in developing countries, are stagnant, as revealed by The World Bank in 2019.
In rural Ghana, the situation is no different as many youth are limited by the challenges that come with venturing into agriculture.
Even though the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), envisages that agricultural potential will serve as a source of livelihood opportunities for rural youth, and making them self –reliant, this can only be a reality for Ghanaian youths if the challenges in Agriculture could be addressed.
While these challenges are complex and interwoven, a number of key conclusions can be drawn from the myriad of studies available.
Experts enumerated that ensuring that youth have access to the right information is crucial with integrated training approaches that respond to the needs of modern agricultural sector.
Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer great potential and there is a distinct need to organize and bring youth together to improve their capacities for youth specific projects and programmes.
Agribusiness, Agrisolve’s GreenconnectY is professing solution to the challenges the sector is fraught with and evoking interest of many youths in rural Ghana to farm.
The program, through its mentorship and resource-driven approaches, is offering technical expertise in agronomy practices, access to input for production, and an agri-tech to 1.4 000 youths in rural Ghana.
The project, since its inception in 2008, is effective in providing the youth with the motivation needed to venture into the agricultural sector with an integrated response from policymakers and development practitioners alike.
Sharif Abdul Ganiyu, a 32-year old building Engineer, who owns 50 acres of soya bean plantation at Karaga district in the Northern Region, is one of the benefactors of Greenconnet Y program. For the trained building engineer-turned farmer, the program is an opportunity he has ever hoped for.
“I have always been in the farm with my grandpa as a kid. Though I studied building technology, I didn’t see farming lucrative at the time due to the challenges that existed, but with Agrisolve’s intervention, I am back to the farm,” he says.
Executive Director of Agrisolve, Elorm Goh says the Greenconnect Y program offers youths in rural Ghana the avenue of a modernized service to farm within their catchment areas.
According to Goh, the starters have access to a range of digital agricultural-value chain platform that allows the young farmers to access inputs, seeds for production, mechanization services, access to e-extension services on good agronomy practices and market price regulation.
Indeed, a coordinated response to increase youth’s involvement in the agricultural sector is more important than ever, she said.
“As the global population rises, there is an increase in agricultural productivity gains and it means that youth must play a pivotal role in ensuring a food-secure future for themselves, and the future.”