Professor Samuel A. Donkoh, an Associate Professor at the University of Development Studies has called on young entrepreneurs to move away from production to processing.
“The way out for our development is the processing of our agricultural products,” he said at a virtual meeting organized by the Ghana Young Entrepreneurs' Roundtable (GYER) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Accra.
The meeting was on the theme: “Developing Ghana Agribusiness through Youth-Led Entrepreneurship: Shifting from Production to Processing.”
GYER is an initiative aimed at building a core group of young business leaders to spearhead regional integration of SDG’s into private sector growth strategies.
They are a cross-section of recognized young entrepreneurs and business leaders driven by the passion to accelerate Ghana’s contribution toward the attainment of the globally resolved SDGs.
The coalition is to sensitize industrial players toward climate-smart solutions in meeting national challenges in environmental governance and climate change.
He said because the processing of agricultural products was limited, there was the urge to import most products from overseas.
“If the country is thinking of industrialisation, processing is the way to go,” he added.
Prof. Donkoh said limited processing, marketing and consumption also implied limited employment, diversification and low income for individuals.
He, therefore, called on the youth to take a second look at agriculture as a business rather as a way of life.
He said there was a disconnection between the agriculture sector and industries with the education sector hanging in the balance not being able to perform its function of developing the skills of the youth.
The Associate Professor said some of the youth were ready to go into agribusiness, the only thing stakeholders needed to do was to motivate and support them to carry on.
Mr Fred Omane Asante, a Representative from the Ghana Export Promotion Centre (GEPA) Project Office said the Centre had initiated the “Youth in Farming and Export of Agricultural Products.”
He said the programme sought to attract Ghanaian youth into agriculture and to create employment opportunities to reduce graduate unemployment in the country.
Mr Asante said the programme, which was starting with the agricultural sector would have the youth attached to experienced exporters on their farms for mentoring.
He said upon successful completion of the training programme, trainees would be supported by GEPA to acquire an acre of land each and supplied with seeds and required inputs to cultivate under the supervision of the trainers before starting their own farm business.
Mr Asante said GEPA also helped them to acquire a couple of certifications to prepare them for the export journey, adding that there were a lot of opportunities in the export sector for the youth.
“There is a lot of opportunities the youth can take advantage of in the export sector with the introduction of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” he said.