The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), in collaboration with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), has trained 20 young people interested in agribusiness, specifically horticulture, to build their capacity for export.
Dubbed ‘Youth in Enterprise Programme (YiEP)’, it aims at building the capacity of youth who are interested in agriculture to take farming as a serious enterprise; to be gainfully employed and to employ others.
The trainees, who come from the Eastern, Central and Volta Regions, were attached to experienced exporters (mentors) in the horticultural sector who gave each of them practical on-field training in the production of pineapple, papaya and vegetables (chili, okra and aubergine) with focus on the export market.
Eight (8) of the beneficiary trainees were trained in the production of pineapple, eleven (11) were trained in the production of vegetables, while one (1) was trained in the production of papaya. The beneficiaries comprised sixteen (16) young men and four (4) young women.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, CEO of GEPA Dr. Afua Asabea Asare explained how the programme has benefitted participants, further encouraging other youth to enrol in it.
“I am glad to inform you that the trainees have successfully completed the six-month training. As part of the assistance that GEPA is offering these proud pioneers of the YiEP, they have already been provided funds to lease and prepare an acre of land each – ready to start their Agri-business journey.
“Today, as part of this closing ceremony they will be supplied with seeds and suckers, fertiliser, agro-chemicals, irrigation facilities and other inputs to make their take-off a smooth one. What is even more fulfilling for me is the fact that their mentors are committed to off-take all their ‘first fruits’ and all their subsequent harvests until they are mature enough to start their own export operations.
“I wish to take this opportunity to assure you all that GEPA is committed to continuing this important programme and expanding it to benefit more of our teeming youth,” she said.
Deputy minister of Trade and Industries, Herbert Krapa, also encouraged the youth to take their training further and progress to become big exporters and help create jobs for others, adding that the ministry will continue to offer its support for such programmes.
“This opportunity you should see as a stepping-stone. Your main achievement is ahead of you, provided you remain dedicated to the course and build internal resilience for the obstacles ahead. Learn the lessons and walk with them. The opportunity you have, which many others would do anything for, you should not take for granted.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry will be happy to see this initiative expanded to benefit many more young people, and thereby help to close the unemployment gap. My hope is that in the not-too-distant future we will see many more of you setting up industries to process these raw materials into value-added products,” he said.
A beneficiary of the programme, Matthew Nyandemoh-Mensah – a vegetable farmer, said prior to the training he was more focused on the traditional way of farming, but the on-field training has opened his eyes to modern methods of farming which have improved his yield.
Another beneficiary, a student farmer Mary Adjei who is into pineapple production, also said she is thankful to GEPA and her trainer for the training she has had. She urges all graduates who are still looking for jobs to consider farming as a profession rather than chase white-collar jobs which are difficult to find.
“People are surprised to know that I have entered into farming, but farming is very lucrative and I encourage all my colleagues to consider it after school,” she said.