Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, the Akyimpenhene of Asante Juaben Traditional Council and recipient of the prestigious 2022 National Best Farmer award, has organised a mentorship forum at Koforidua Technical University.
It was aimed to inspire and motivate students to consider agriculture as a viable and rewarding profession.
The forum, established as part of the Rethink initiative, was launched by the office of the 2022 National Best Farmer in partnership with the Kosmos Innovation Centre and Ghana Exim Bank.
The aim of this forum is to inspire young individuals to perceive agriculture and the various opportunities it offers along its value chain as more than just a conventional occupation, but rather as a gateway to a multitude of prospects.
The forum on the theme: ‘Opportunities along the Agricultural Value Change’ engaged policymakers and stakeholders to come out with policies to empower the youth and also facilitate easy access to finance.
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 highlights the numerous opportunities inherent in the agricultural value chain.
He said the ‘Rethink Agriculture’ programme was expected to equip the youth with the tools, knowledge, information, education and skills that would not only help sustain agricultural legacy but transform it into a force that drives innovation and economic growth.
He further said it was crucial for him to inspire young people to spearhead the agricultural sector’s transformation even though he was trained an engineer, adding that agricultural sector transformation would not only enhance people well-being but also significantly contributes to the socioeconomic development of a nation.
The honoree Mr Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, the Executive Director for Kosmos Innovation Center, noted that agriculture offered ready jobs and that the programme was aligned with the renewed focus of the Kosmos to fashion out new approaches to agriculture.
He entreated the beneficiaries to take the training seriously to build upon their skills in animal rearing, crop plantation and other agriculture 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 take advantage of all the chances Kosmos offered them by participating in events such as the Young Agripreneurs Forum since his office is prepared to help them turn what they have learned into a useful environment.
Mr Franklin Owusu- Karikari, Director of National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NIEP) stated that his office had completed training of over 25,000 applicants in the Youth in Innovative Agriculture Programme under Ghana Cares Obaatanpa Programme.
He said that after going through training and coaching, the shortlisted candidates received financial and technical help.
According to Mr 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 the students to venture into agriculture because farming was a business with good returns.
Source: Ghana News Agency