YEA to cultivate 10,000-acre maize farm in B/A…with the potential of employing 3,000 youth

Michael Osei Boateng (left), B /A YEA Director, and Dr. Kwakye Afriyie (middle), Wenchi MCE, inspect project land

All is set for the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to commence large-scale cultivation of maize at Branam in the Wenchi Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region.

This follows the acquisition of 10,000 acres of land at Branam for the project, which is expected to start in early 2019. The Branam YEA maize farm project is expected to create direct employment for 3,000 youth.

The pending YEA maize project forms part of government’s effort to reactivate the defunct Branam State Farm. The said State Farm collapsed decades ago, leaving structures there deteriorated and a large portion of the land fallow. Over the years, many attempts to breathe life back into the state-owned plantation have yielded little result. Over the years, the National Service Secretariat (NSS) has sent its personnel to farm on a portion of the land.

This came to light when a technical team from YEA and the leadership of Wenchi Municipal Assembly visited the site for the proposed maize project. The visit also afforded the joint team an opportunity to officially inform and also seek the blessing of Branam traditional authorities for a smooth take-off.

The Acting Director of Research and Planning-YEA, Agya Yaw Nsiah, told the B&FT that the project ties into the broader vision of the Agency and government to create sustainable employment for the youth. He said the move is in line with making efficient use of resources in the various regions and localities to create worth.

He said: “This is a project that has been born out of the need for sustainability; gone are the days the Agency was spending on two-year internship programmes and committing further resources into exit strategies. The focus now is productive sectors of the economy like agriculture to position the youth to contribute meaningfully to the country’s socio-economic development.”

On his part, the Acting Brong Ahafo Region Director of YEA-Michael Osei Boateng, revealed that the project will be a mechanised farming one with a minimum of two harvests in a year. He indicated that YEA will effectively partner all relevant institutions like the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for the requisite technical support to guarantee the project’s success. “We will soon start preparation of the land, and hopefully it will be ready by January 2019.”

The MCE for Wenchi, Dr. Prince Kwakye Afriyie, is optimistic the project will be a game changer to transform the local economy – indicating that output of the Branam maize farm will serve as raw material for a yet-to-be-established animal-feed production company at Wenchi. The animal-feed factory, he noted, is expected to be established by Indian investors under the ‘One District, One Factory” programme.