Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has officially inaugurated the Siriboe Institute of Agribusiness and Skills Development at Bomfa in the Juaben Municipality of Ashanti Region.
The brain behind the facility is the 2022 National Best Farmer, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, who is the Akyempimhene of the Juaben Traditional Council. He constructed the centre using the proceeds from winning the 2022 National Best Farmer award and support from the benevolence of institutions and friends.
Located at the Siriboe Oil Palm Complex in Bomfa, the institute has a 700 capacity for formal lectures, demonstration and workshop, as well as a cafeteria. There is a crèche where young mothers would leave their children to study, as they also gain knowledge without sacrificing their maternal obligation.
The institute would offer need-based training that seeks to expose participants to different career options along the agriculture value chain and the linking of agriculture to industry and services. The facility will provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based agricultural solutions – online training, link to agricultural extension services, marketing and enhanced extension delivery like mobile phone audio conferences.
The location of the institute within the oil palm complex would also afford the students the benefits of practical training to complement their studies.
Presenting the keynote address at the sod-cutting ceremony, Dr. Bawumia commended Nana Yaw Siriboe I for this initiative, saying the facility would be a centre of excellence for advanced agriculture studies since the future of agriculture is no more cutlass and hoes, but technology as the institute would be providing.
“It is clear he is thinking about skills and technology knowledge for farmers. We are looking at having a hall dedicated to digitalisation in the agriculture centre. This is forward thinking of where Ghana should be going and I can assure you that you will get support to drive this initiative,” he said.
Founder of the facility, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, said he established the institute to augment the efforts of government and various stakeholders in providing the youth and women the opportunity to gain access to knowledge, information and education; and thereby make wealth through agriculture.
“This centre of excellence will be a reference point for farmers, students and anybody with interest in agriculture to visit physically or online and be abreast with various opportunities in the agriculture sector. To ensure scientific and research-based training, the centre is in the process of partnering the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Kwadaso College of Agric,” Nana Yaw Siriboe I said.
He, then, proposed to the government to use the institute as a central hub for training in Ashanti Region for initiatives like Planting for Food and Jobs, and also use it as a centre for digitalisation for the agriculture space in the country.
Touching on the reason for the establishment of the facility, the 2022 National Best Farmer mentioned that the idea came through the inspiration from the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei TuTu II, after he presented his award to him.
Additionally, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I said the advice of Otumfuo had been buttressed by the 2014 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation in collaboration with the International Fund of Agriculture Development (IFAD) published on key challenges and concrete solutions for the youth and agriculture, which identify the principal challenge to youth in agriculture as insufficient access to knowledge information and education.