As government is expressing concern over the rising food import bill for rice, cooking oil, frozen chicken and meat, the private sector is rallying behind a youth-targetted programme, AG-STUD, to ensure that its third outing turns out more successfully than its two previous performances in order to eventually begin curbing the avoidable expenditure.
Formally launched barely a month ago, the programme has gotten the attention of relevant private sector organisations – so much so that no fewer than seven companies have already made commitments to sponsoring this 2020 edition of the fast-becoming-popular event.
Leading this coterie of corporate sponsors is the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), which has signed on as Platinum sponsor. This being its first participation as a partner, and at such a level, definitely underscores the programme’s value to society and the nation as a whole.
Equally signed onto the sponsorship support for the programme, according to the organisers, are corporate giants like Interplast Ghana Ltd., OCP Ghana, Labianca Company Ltd., Rockland Farms, Nanam Ventures Ltd., and Avnash Industries Ltd. This list is expected to grow further, judging from the hint dropped by the Executive Director, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa.
A release issued by the organising company, Agrihouse Foundation, indicated that the pleasant surprise about the support streaming in for the programme was its attraction of the Serbian Embassy – which not only offered to share their country’s experience with the students, but also offered them scholarships to study in Serbia.
“Indeed, it is heart-warming to see that one’s effort is being acknowledged and supported,” Ms. Akosa was quoted as saying in the press release issued by Agrihouse Foundation.
“Being the industry leader in facilitating growth within the agricultural sector, we were propelled to come up with this initiative after our research showed that our youth are still immersed in the idea that agriculture is for the uneducated and unskilled, and all about physical labour with no reasonable economic return to write home about. This was one of the ways we thought we should begin to get them to change their mind-set; and let them see that, today, agriculture has become more than tilling the soil and shepherding animals.”
An initiative of the Agrihouse Foundation, the AG-STUD programme was created three years ago to develop youth and student leadership’s knowledge of the corporate world of agribusiness, the value chain system, and farm management skills in beginner farmers; and generally lead them to start appreciating agriculture from a new perspective which speaks of a career fulfilling sector that offers a wide range of exciting and modern career opportunities.
The 2018-2019 edition of the event created jobs for countless students and youth. As a result of the previous editions of the programme, there are now over 6 successful businesses being run by students who participated in the AG-STUD programme – Mush Farms being one of them. Mush Farms is developed and owned by winners of the 2019 edition of AG-STUD Business Pitch Challenge, and they are students from the University of Ghana.
The 2020 AG-STUD bootcamp will camp forty (40) students, representing nine AG-STUD BUSINESS CLUBS from across the country. Aside from the 40 campers, over 700 students will be attending and participating in the daily sessions.