Many opportunities exist in the agriculture value chain for university graduates to be gainfully employed, as the country seeks to restore the sector to its former glory under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said.
In its review of the 2018 budget, the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon, noted 7.3 percent of persons with tertiary educational qualifications are unemployed.
The figure is higher among Junior High and High School leavers: 19.3 percent for persons with secondary school certificates; and 11.3 percent for BECE certificate holders.
“The real task of making agriculture the pathfinder of our nation’s development starts with us, and it must begin with an important shift in attitude and mentality. The penchant for corporate jobs after leaving school needs a second look.
“This is heightened by recent dwindling in numbers of student applicants to study Agriculture in the universities and other tertiary institutions. Agriculture needs all manner of professionals and has moved beyond cutlass and hoe-bearing persons who can hardly embrace modern best practices.
“From veterinary officers to the research fellows, extension personnel and all others in between, the sector remains potentially a major employer; yet most of us fail to perceive this and end up missing the opportunity,” the minister said in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy-Agric Minister, Ken Osei Nyarko, at the launch of the 9th National Food and Agric Show (FAGRO, 2018) in Accra.
The 9th edition, under the theme ‘Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture through Investment in the Value Chain’, will be held at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park-Accra from Thursday 25th October-Saturday 27th October, 2018.
Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme is designed to boost the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and address the country’s unemployment situation.
Individual and youth groups engaged in the cultivation of crops under the programme are supported with seedlings and subsidised fertiliser, among others.
The minister said the programme is ‘here to stay’, and entreated graduates and the youth to explore opportunities in the sector.
The General Manger of FAGRO, Antionette Nwosu said: “This year, FAGRO is themed on our future agricultural stance as a nation. We at FAGRO believe that with our solid roots as an agrarian society, agriculture cannot be a nine-day wonder. Thus, this year’s theme provides an avenue for people of like-minds to discuss and probe into developing strategies that will hep advance sustainable measures for our agriculture tomorrow.
“It behoves us all as citizens to put our hands on deck. Agriculture is our national Keystone, it’s the reason we have green in the flag. Our agriculture tomorrow depends on today.”
FAGRO is Ghana’s foremost national agribusiness platform, established in 2009 to support strengthening the country’s agriculture locally and internationally through the organisation of agric exhibitions, seminars, conferences, trade promotions, capacity building and other advocacy programmes and initiatives.
The FAGRO platform has over the years contributed immensely in highlighting visibility of the country’s agric sector to the investment community, both locally and internationally. Consequently, the FAGRO brand – and for that matter, Ghana’s Agric sector – has become known in many countries such as Brazil, Israel, US, The Netherlands, Spain, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, among others.
As the years have progressed, FAGRO has evolved – renewing, repositioning and refocusing itself so as to strengthen its contribution to the nation’s agriculture-led economic growth. Working with great partners, we embarked on a restructuring and re-branding exercise with the aim of strengthening our visibility, relevance and impact.
Working in partnership with our stakeholders, FAGRO is committed to supporting the promotion and commercialisation of Ghana’s Agriculture, and indeed that across the African continent.
As part of this year’s activities, FAGRO intends to dedicate a day to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for championing government’s agenda concerning food and agriculture.
Another day will also be dedicated to one of Ghana’s development partners to showcase their contributions toward Ghana Agriculture development.
This year’s FAGRO will provide a platform for exhibitions and an avenue for discussions on how Agric stakeholders, farmer groups, and development partners within the various districts and regional capitals can meet and develop strategies, and also to work and ensure we tap into the benefits of Agricultural commercialisation through government’s policies.