Agric best for youth entrepreneurship - Deputy Trade Minister

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Some guests at the awards
Some guests at the awards

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Michael Okyere Kofi Baafi, has said the agriculture sector presents a perfect solution to the youth unemployment situation in the country.

With the government urging the youth to go into entrepreneurship, he said the agric sector presented a perfect opportunity for the youth to venture into.

“The government will support such youth. Let me assure you of the government’s commitment to provide the right policies and strong regulatory framework to attract more investments for farmers and players along the agric value chain to ensure a thriving business environment that yields positive returns for the agric sector,” he said when he spoke at the fourth Ghana Agribusiness Excellence and Leadership Awards.

It was organised by the Chamber of Agribusiness, Ghana (CAG) in Accra.

He said the agricultural sector played a critical role in Ghana’s efforts to achieve its industrialisation agenda, explaining that it was among the reasons the government was scalling up support to that sector.

“The agricultural sector needs to move beyond subsistence production to commercial to be able to feed the population and industry with raw materials for value addition.”

This requires expanding access to capital and other critical resources such as electric power and improved technology to produce high value agric commodities,” he said.

Mr Baafi said the government, in recognition of the sector’s contribution to the national industrialisation agenda had come out with initiatives such as the One District One Factory (1D1F), which seeks to transform the economy from an exporter of raw materials and importer of finished goods, to one that was focused on manufacturing, value addition and export of processed goods.  

Again, he said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) also presented opportunities for agric commodity trading and investments.  

Agric and AfCFTA

The Chief Executive Officer of CAG, Mr Anthony Selorm Morrison, asked agribusinesses to take advantage of AfCFTA to expand.

“Agriculture remains one of greatest opportunities Ghana has in terms of the diversity of food products from the use of locally produced raw materials.”

“While others may focus on possible challenges, we are of the view that Ghana has been presented an opportunity to expand our businesses beyond the shores of Ghana and the West Coast,” he said.

He encouraged agribusinesses to take advantage of AfCFTA and be strategic in their approach to business.

He added that the chamber would organise a series of engagement and knowledge share activities to adequately sensitise the public and its members to the opportunities under AfCFTA.    

The chairperson for the occasion, who is also the Deputy Director in charge of Operations at the Tree Crop Development Authority, Mr Foster Boateng, noted that agriculture trade was increasing because dietary needs and food supply requirement had changed due to growing population and migration of majority of the middle class to the urban areas.  

Award winners

A Staff Writer with the Graphic Business, a brand of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mrs Ama Achiaa Amankwah Baafi, emerged the Agriculture Journalist of the year.

The Agribusiness Research Institution of the Year went to Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), while Agric Skill Development Institution award went to Wenchi Agric College.

The Agribusiness Financial Institution of the year went to ADB, while the Outstanding Woman in Agribusiness award went to Ms Juliana Asante Dartey.

@ a glance

- Held on the theme, “Sustainable Agriculture: A Catalyst for Agro-Industrial Development Food Security and Job Creation,” the Agribusiness Excellence and Leadership Awards aims to publicly recognise efforts and contribution of distinguished and deserving agribusinesses.

- It was to bring together governments, researchers, development and private sector institutions to raise awareness and elevate discussions about the critical role of sustainable agriculture in Ghana.

- It is also designed to create a platform to recognise outstanding individuals and organisations.