Dr. Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of Food and Agriculture has stated that the second phase of the government’s Planting for Food and Job (FJP) will become the economic pillar of the youths.
The minister noted that the agriculture ministry, in collaboration with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), is on a mission to empower and support the youth in their pursuit of a career in commercial farming.
Speaking at the occasion of the Youth in Agriculture Conference held at the University of Ghana on Wednesday 18th October 2023, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong indicated that, within the development agenda of Ghana, agriculture is identified as one of the economic pillars. It is obvious that the nexus between agriculture development of Ghana’s abilities to achieve its food security goals are inextricably linked.
The Youth in Agriculture Programme, will be led by the Ministry for Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in collaboration with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) as part of the Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II Initiative (PFJ 2.0), which aims to empower and support young individuals to engage in commercial crop farming. This initiative addresses the challenges young farmers face in securing land and resources for farming.
Promoting Commercial Farming
This legacy initiative focuses on promoting commercial farming, igniting passion among youth, and creating sustainable employment opportunities. MoFA and YEA intend to initiate the project in Wenchi, located in the Bono region of Ghana, with plans for rapid expansion across the country.
The project is expected to make significant contributions to food and nutrition security, inflation reduction, GDP growth, and the creation of sustainable employment opportunities for youth in agriculture.
Under this program, beneficiary youth farmers will receive training on modern farm management practices, 10 acres each of land already developed for farming under the guidance of experienced aggregators assigned by the project.
The beneficiaries will also receive input credit such as seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals, etc., and services such as extension, and mechanization support (ploughing, harrowing, planting, spraying, etc.). A monthly stipend covering the first production cycle of the respective agricultural value chain will also be provided to ensure their success.
In terms of marketing, Dr. Bryan said, harvested produce will be sold to off-takers, and profits shared between the project and beneficiaries, ensuring sustainability and further boosting the income of beneficiaries.
Additionally, the project intends to construct low-cost affordable single-room farm housing facilities, storage houses, adequate water, and other support infrastructure within the enclaves to support production.
According to Dr. Bryan, the project is targeting to reach out to 200,000 youth farmers as beneficiaries to collectively cultivate and manage over one million acres during the 5-year program duration. Each beneficiary will be engaged for 6 months, during which they will receive training and support.
It is expected that, by the end of this period, they should have accumulated enough capital and adequate experience to independently manage their fields and cover associated costs for the next production cycle. Successful beneficiaries who meet assigned targets will be encouraged to continue, while the work of those who did not do well will be assessed for support to be able to meet the targets.
The Minister also indicated that a comparative analysis of crop budgets suggests that beneficiaries, under the project, will realize over 400% profit margin compared with conventional farmers cultivating the same acreage elsewhere. This is certainly a game-changer for farming in Ghana.