The governments of Ghana and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 50 Ghanaian agricultural graduates to undergo an 11-month practical attachment on farms in Israel.
While in Israel, the graduates will be attached to cooperative farms called Kibbutz, where they will work on the field for five days and one day in the classroom.
The Ghanaian graduates, who had undergone a three-month training in Ghana on greenhouse technology with an Israeli agricultural company, AGRITOP Ltd, will be among 1,600 beneficiaries from Africa, Asia and South America who will be on attachment with host farmers in Israel, beginning from September this year.
The Israeli government had initially allotted 30 slots to Ghana for the programme, but in May this year, the number was increased to 50 after the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, had prevailed on the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Uri Ariel, to increase the number when he paid a courtesy call on the latter.
At yesterday’s signing ceremony, Dr Akoto and the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ami Mehl, signed on behalf of their respective countries.
Under the MoU, Ghana is to present the 50 graduates for a start, with consistent increment in subsequent years, depending on the performance of the first batch.
Advice to beneficiaries
Speaking before the agreement was signed, Mr Mehl expressed his excitement that during the three years that he had been in the country, he had helped to develop agriculture in Ghana, noting that “now a month and half before I leave Ghana, we have managed to sign the MoU”.
He said the decision to give Ghana 50 slots for a start was “unusual” and explained that normally for the first year, only 10 students were accepted.
He urged the beneficiaries not to disappoint the government but work hard to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Mr Mehl praised Dr Akoto for the role he played for such an “unusual” decision by Israel to take 50 students for a start and was confident that depending on their performance, the allocation would be increased on a yearly basis.
He told the graduates that there was a lot for them to learn because there was a lot of advanced technology in Israel, adding: “So use the opportunity to make agriculture in Ghana more profitable.”
Responding, Dr Akoto described the MoU as “historic” and congratulated the beneficiaries on deserving of such an opportunity.
He said since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took office, his main concern had been unemployment among the youth, especially university graduates.
He explained that the President’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme did not involve only the production of crops but also the promotion of the vegetables sector.
“That aspect of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme is what forms the core of the relationship between us and the Israeli company, AGRITOP,” Dr Akoto said, adding that a major component of what was being done with AGRITOP was to make a section of the youth knowledgeable in the greenhouse technology to make them entrepreneurs.