Sixth edition of Agric Students’ Training and Mentorship Bootcamp opens today


Agrihouse Foundation is set to host the sixth edition of the Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance & Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AGSTUD Africa), starting Monday, March 27 to Friday, March 31, 2023.

Focused on the theme ‘5 years of Grooming, Training and Empowerment – Where we Are now with our Agribusiness’, this year’s bootcamp will take place in Accra daily, at the GNAT Conference Hall.

This year’s camp is hosting about two hundred and thirty-three (233) Agricultural students, young agribusiness beginners, and agriculture enthusiasts from across the country. The beneficiaries will be receiving mentoring and coaching, and participate in several hands-on capacity-building sessions aimed at equipping them with knowledge and skills to establish sustainable agri-businesses in their schools and within their communities.

The bootcamp, which annually involves about thirty-three agric colleges and universities in the country, also makes room for the students and agribusiness beginners to participate in corporate and field tours aimed at familiarising them with different kinds of agribusiness operations in the country, to ask questions, and strike business opportunities with the agribusiness owners.

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, has noted that while in the last five (5) years the bootcamp has directly groomed, trained and empowered about 1,200 beneficiaries and about 100,000 participants indirectly, this year’s event is focused on taking stock of progress made, and celebrating the successes of the young agripreneurs. “We are bringing on board all past students and agribusiness beginners who have participated in AGSTUD Bootcamp in the last the 5 years to share their success stories, especially the impacts AGSTUD Bootcamp has had on their lives and on their agribusinesses,” she stressed.

While the event will be tracking progress and celebrating achievements of the alumni, the Executive Director said it would also be an opportunity to inspire and empower first-time participants to uncover untapped agribusiness potential within themselves. “This is to inspire the Agri-Youth and to further show our partners and sponsors how their contributions toward the AGSTUD Bootcamp annually is making impacts in the lives of our Agri-Youth,” she added.


AG-STUD Bootcamp over the years

The Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance & Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp was initiated six years ago when, through research and observation, it was revealed that agric students and beginner agribusinesses had little or no mentoring, training and coaching on the practical steps and opportunities needed to help them develop themselves, their business plans, and the required soft skills for the agribusiness market.

Again, research and feedback from most companies who take on new graduates suggest some agric students tend to be more exposed to theory other than the practical, useful and hands-on approach in agriculture. Some of these students do not see agriculture above the act of farming. The AG-STUD Bootcamp, therefore, aims to tackle this problem by offering beneficiaries opportunity to explore, embrace and appreciate the full scope of the agricultural value chain through competency-based training, mentorship, capacity-building sessions and business development.

In the last five (5) years, the bootcamp has directly groomed, mentored and coached about one thousand two hundred (1,200) agric students and beginner agribusinesses and about hundred thousand (100,000) beneficiaries indirectly from across thirty-three (33) agric colleges and universities in the country, who are annually invited to participate in a 5-day bootcamp. On average, the bootcamp annually hosts about two hundred (200) beneficiaries from across thirty-three agric colleges and universities and selected Senior High Schools in the country.

While they are all not camped, we ensure that they all participate fully in all the training and field activities that are designed to build their agricultural skills, knowledge and capacities. Yearly, the bootcamp endeavours to fully camp about seventy percent of beneficiaries; thirty percent room is reserved for female participation while a thirty percent of beneficiaries are selected from some Senior High Schools to participate and are engaged as day-campers.

Beneficiary impacts & success stories

At Agrihouse Foundation, we believe the youths are the frontline in the movement to change the agricultural systems and food security equation of the nation. Through the AG-STUD bootcamp, we continue to invest in more young people who are working to build careers as agripreneurs. Presently, some alumni have established about forty-seven (47) thriving agribusinesses.

James Elikem Brown, a past student of Nglieshie Amanfrom SHS who was part of the bootcamp in 2019, is among our shining examples. James presently runs a 3-acre pineapple farm, where he has employed some of his colleagues. In the past year, he ventured into producing pineapple juice, which he has registered with the Food and Drugs Authority.

Dauda Mustapha, a former student of the All Nations University who was a part of the AGSTUD Bootcamp in 2020, was supported with agric inputs to start a watermelon farm. Through the training and leadership skills acquired at the bootcamp, he diversified by going into cowpea production as well. Presently, he has added 5 acres of yellow corn to his crop production and is supplying poultry farmers in the Northern Region.

Obed Asamoah, who was part of the 2019 cohorts, received a seed capital of GH¢500 to start his mushroom farm. Within two years, Obed scaled up his production and currently supplies to African shops in the US and UK on order. For a while, he served as a trainer at our Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training and Tradeshow. Through hard work, Obed has now earned a scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Asia.

Mustapha, also from the All Nations University, owns an 80-acre watermelon and cowpea farm after participating in AG-STUD in 2019 and 2020.

Perfect M.A Nyikplorkpo, a former student of Adidome Farm Institute and a 2021 and 2022 beneficiary of AGSTUD Bootcamp, is into lettuce production. She processes moringa into tea, moringa species and natural species. Having registered with the Food and Drugs Authority, she has her products on the market and in supermarkets across the country.

Ella, a 2019 beneficiary from KNUST, is running a thriving mushroom farm through the seed capital given to her. Beyond her daily sales, Ella serves as a trainer in her community. She has trained over 200 people so far.

Mamaga Mary Hundo is a 2022 beneficiary from the Oti Region. Mary is into agri processing, processing groundnut into paste as well as processing soya. Mary processes soya beans into soya milk and soya powered, which can be used in different foods because of its high protein content. Through her innovation and creativity, she has come up with her own mix of gari and soya powder, which she sells with the help of her employee. Her agribusiness is called Mamaga’s kitchen.

Solomon Benambemon, a 2020 beneficiary of AGSTUD and former Managing Director of AG-STUD Kwadaso Business Club, is presently an agronomist at Jubaili Agrotech Limited. While in school, he worked on a livestock project with his mates. When he left school, he rented a piece of land and started vegetable production, including garden eggs and pepper. After 3 months of cultivation, he started earning some money from the weekly sales of the produce. Shortly after, through the support of Agrihouse Foundation, he landed a job at Jubaili Agrotech Limited. “I work as the senior agronomist for the organisation and by the grace of God, I have had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria, Togo, Benin and most principal parts of Ghana and still aiming for more and better experiences in the future. All of these were made possible because of the exposure I got from AG-STUD,” Solomon shares.

Speakers, mentors, coaches at sixth AG-STUD Bootcamp

The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong-Addo, will be delivering the Keynote Address at the opening ceremony of this year’s bootcamp. He will be motivating and empowering the agric-students with stories from his childhood, academic experiences, and career choices to inspire the young agriporeneurs to make choices that will grow and sustain their agribusinesses. The minister is also expected to delve into investing in sustainable agriculture, government’s policies and programmes in place for young Ghanaians who are into or interested in the agric sector.

The opening ceremony will also host dignitaries, including the former Minister for Food and Agriculture, Fifi Kwetey, who is expected to lead an AgriTed Talk on the theme ‘Activating Your Purpose through Self-Realisation’. The 2022 National Best Farmer, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe, will also be leading a TedTalk on the theme ‘Developing and Managing your Agribusiness and Organisational Structures’. The Managing Director of LK International, Madam Nora Goa, is optimistic her Agri-Ted Talk on the theme ‘Agribusiness, Innovations and Market Identification Development’ will empower the students to put in place strong agribusiness structures as they set up their agribusiness enterprises.

Mr. Ebenezer Acheampong, Senior Elder of the Church of Pentecost (Ghana), will also be empowering the students with a financial talk on the topic ‘The Gospel and Discipline of Financial Management’. Former Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Mr. Kwesi Boamah, who will be engaging the beneficiaries during the AG-Voyage Tour, has described the session as necessary as it familiarises the young agripreneurs with agribusiness operations.

Other esteemed resource persons from FDA, GEPA, CPC, ADB, Dizengoff, OCP Ghana, Carbon AV, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Broadspectrum Ghana, Blue Skies, Mastercard Foundation, Newmont, and Yara Ghana have also been tapped to lead as mentors, coaches and trainers for various capacity-building sessions for the 5-day period.

Activity line-up for the 5-day bootcamp

Lined up activities for the 5-day bootcamp have been designed to develop the spirit of teamwork among the students, develop their art of public speaking, negotiating abilities, and presentation skills. The activities will help the beneficiaries explore their creativity and wear their innovative hats, which will help them identify challenges and propose solutions. The sessions include:

Agri-growth. This is scheduled for day 1, and allows the beneficiaries to share the progress of their group and individual agribusinesses, impacts they are chalking, as well as challenges they are overcoming.

Agri-Ted talks is also on day one (1). The session makes room for industry leaders, like Nana Otuo Sirebuo and Mr. Akwesi Appiah, to share their career journeys, experiences, and business do’s and don’ts with the young agripreneurs. It will also provide inspiration and empowerment as well as education about the agricultural market and principles needed to sustain agribusiness start-ups.

Agri-inspire and mind-set shaping session is scheduled on day two (2), and allows for more public and private industry leaders to engage the students in open conversations that highlight social and agribusiness-related issues. The interactive session is designed to allow the students to ask questions that align with the business plans for their agribusiness start-ups.

AG-Voyage is on day three (3). This takes the agri-students on tour into corporate organisations where they get to familiarise themselves with business operations, ask questions, and engage with business owners. Prior exercises have led to internships and employment for some of the campers. The tour also helps the young agripreneurs to learn and plan for economic stability and build structures for their start-up enterprises.

Agri–Booster is on day four (4). It is a business-building directional session aimed at helping the young agripreneurs lay the right foundations for their start-ups. With support from their mentors and coaches, they fine-tune their agribusiness proposals to make them workable, sustainable and commercially viable. They engage in run-through presentations to help them perfect their business pitching skills toward the final presentation the next day.

Corporate support and partnerships

Agromonti, a fast-growing Agro input dealer company in Ghana, has announced its commitment to partner Agrihouse Foundation to set up a state-of-the-art input dealer business for the winner of the AG-STUD Ultimate Prize Challenge. The input dealer business for the winner of the AG-STUD Bootcamp Ultimate Challenge is estimated to cost about GH¢75,000, both technically and financially.

The Managing Director of Agromonti, Mr. Benjamin Offei, said after the input business is established for the winner, Agromonti will continue to work closely with Agrihouse Foundation to monitor and provide the needed support for the winner to be able to further develop his market and ensure growth.

Also, leading providers of agricultural inputs and services in Ghana, Dizengoff Ghana Limited, has provided financial and technical support toward the bootcamp.

In a press statement, the General Manager of the Agric Division of the company, Mr. Janus Van Der Westhuizen, said the support is in line with Dizengoff Ghana’s commitment to help sustain youth-focused agriculture initiatives in the country. He said Dizengoff is motivated by a passion for empowering the people of Africa, coupled with a spirit for introducing new, cutting-edge technologies and knowledge, AG-STUD Bootcamp is an ideal vehicle to channel more knowledge, skills and resources to the next generation of Ghanaian agripreneurs.

He, therefore, commended Agrihouse Foundation for working with relevant stakeholders over the past six years to grow and sustain the annual Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp.

Other organisations, including Naanam Ventures, OCP Ghana, World Food Programme (WFP), B-diet, Kofi Venyo Ventures, Waf Agro, FDA, Holland Akokor and ADB, have also pledged technical support toward the event.

Leave a Reply