Empowering youth in agriculture through mentorship and capacity building


Agriculture remains integral to the Ghanaian economy, contributing about 20percent on average to the nation’s gross domestic product, according to the Ghana Statistical Service. It remains one of the nation’s largest employers, providing a source of income to 30percent of the Ghanaian population.

Recognizing the significant role of agriculture in the nation’s economy, the government and the private sector have over the years instituted several initiatives, with many of them targeting the youth, just to harness the sector’s full potential.

According to the 2021 Heifer International Report, only 5percent of Ghanaian youth work in the agriculture sector, surprisingly. The reason for this predicament is the difficulty in obtaining finance, training, and mentorship necessary for a prosperous career in agriculture. In addition, a lot of young people have a negative opinion of agriculture. This is due to the fact that agriculture in Ghana is frequently connected with rural poverty and subsistence farming and is perceived as a labor-intensive, low-profit industry.

Despite this, a dynamic group of young entrepreneurs is influencing practices and views in the agricultural sector, leading to a narrative shift. These forward-thinking people are using entrepreneurship to promote innovation, sustainability, and social impact throughout the agricultural value chain in addition to accepting agriculture as a viable career option. One invention at a time, they are steadily changing this narrative and portraying agriculture as a thriving, technologically advanced sector full of growth and development prospects.

Crucial to the success of these young entrepreneurs is the introduction of incubation hubs, serving as a supportive ecosystem that provides mentorship, financing, and networking opportunities.

These incubation hubs, scattered across the country, are not only providing aspiring young innovators with the resources and mentorship they need to flourish but are also catalyzing a transformative wave of entrepreneurship in the agricultural space. Through pitch competitions, investor forums, and matchmaking events, incubation hubs facilitate interactions between entrepreneurs and potential investors, helping to bridge the funding gap and catalyze the growth of promising agricultural startups, while helping to increase the likelihood of success for young entrepreneurs seeking funding to scale their ventures.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant incubation hubs that has developed agricultural entrepreneurship among Ghanaian youth by providing essential resources and infrastructure is the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC).

The Center has over the years carved a niche for itself as a leading incubation hub for the nation’s agricultural space. It has been at the forefront of driving innovation, fostering entrepreneurship, and catalyzing sustainable development in Ghana’s agricultural landscape through many uniquely curated initiatives.

Through AgriTech Challenge Pro, a flagship programme by KIC in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, it has empowered many young entrepreneurs to tackle pressing challenges in agriculture by developing innovative solutions that address key pain points along the agricultural value chain.

The unique array of activities that characterize several stages of the Challenge has been instrumental in providing aspiring entrepreneurs with access to mentorship, training, funding, and resources to transform their ideas into viable businesses.

According to Mr. Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director of the Kosmos Innovation Center, “It is encouraging to meet young people who are leveraging on creativity and collaboration to contribute to the agricultural space. For us, this is a clear indication  of the young people championing the course of agriculture in Ghana.”

“The transformative impact of our tailor-made programmes on Ghana’s agricultural sector cannot be underestimated. Through the provision of innovative solutions, and collaborative partnerships, we have empowered entrepreneurs to harness technology and pioneer sustainable practices, revolutionizing the agricultural ecosystem. By so doing, we are not only addressing immediate challenges but also laying the foundation for long-term resilience and prosperity in the agricultural sector,” emphasized Mr. Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director of KIC.

The success story of the KIC AgriTech Challenge Pro is better told by the contributions of the winners of the Challenge to providing tailor-made solutions to the nation’s agricultural ecosystem. These include Trotro Tractor, a powerful on-demand platform that connects farmers to nearby tractor operators using mobile phones and GPS, and Agro Sourcing, an agribusiness that works with agricultural companies to provide a viable, cost-effective alternative to traditional waste disposal.

This year, with participants being coached by 10 tertiary schools nationwide, who knows what the next invention KIC and Mastercard Foundation’s AgriTech Challenge Pro Programme would help uncover? Your guess is as good as mine.

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