Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Emmanuel Sin-yet Asigri, has challenged the youth of the country to begin to explore their immediate environments for opportunities in the agricultural sector and to take advantage of these opportunities to enhance their socio-economic wellbeing.
Mr. Asigri made the call in a statement to congratulate the nation’s farmers for their immense contributions towards feeding the nation and ensuring food sustainability and security as part of activities to herald this year’s National Farmers’ Day, which falls on Friday 7th December, 2018.
With a reported 8.4% increase in agricultural production in 2017, Mr. Asigri could not conceal his appreciation for the hard-working farmers of the land but was quick to lament the disinterest by the youth in pursuing agricultural ventures as a viable employment option. He therefore tasked the youth to begin to leverage on the government’s flagship programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFFJs) Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and the yet to be launched Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFFJs) as programmes worthy of pursuing with the potential to transform their social and economic status.
“Also, the financial drain on the economy as a result of imports of such staples as rice, wheat, sugar, poultry and in some instances vegetables, could be a thing of the past if majority of our youth, the most productive labour force of the country would venture into agriculture and take advantage of the government’s worthy interventions. Additionally, employment would be generated and foreign exchange would be saved for the nation in the process” Mr. Asigri went on to state.
He further commended the government of His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for recognizing agriculture as the backbone of the nation’s economy and thereby supporting the sector with such inputs and facilities as the supply of improved and certified seeds, provision of agriculture extension services, subsidized fertilizers, reduction of post-harvest loses by the construction of warehouses for storage and making available marketing opportunities for farm produce.
“For our part, the Authority is mobilizing the youth to establish “Youth Livelihood Farms”, and to this end, a 120-acre maize farm is under cultivation on a pilot basis in the Upper West Region of Ghana. The project is expected to be replicated in the remaining nine (9) regions of the country beginning from January of 2019” Mr. Asigri went on to add.
A pilot poultry project has also taken off at the Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institute at Afienya, in the Greater Accra Region with about 2,000 birds (layers).
Three (3) guinea fowl projects for a group of ten (10) young people with 500 birds each is scheduled to take off in January 2019 in 3 Districts in the Upper East Region.
The NYA is in talks with the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to establish quail farms for young migrants who have been repatriated back home and are largely living in districts in the Brong Ahafo Region. This it is envisaged shall go a long way at rehabilitating these young people whilst making them economically self-sufficient.
He pledged the Authority’s continued support to the youth and assured them that the Authority stands prepared to continually work within its mandate to advance their ultimate welfare and to ensure the positive growth and development of the country.
Mr Asigri concluded by cautioning the youth to use the holiday period as a time to reflect on positive attributes and engage in good conduct that would seek to enhance their livelihoods and to shun all manner of excesses and abuses, detrimental to their overall well-being.