Fifty Ghanaian agriculture graduates who have undergone a three-month training in Ghana on greenhouse technology will be among 1,600 students from Africa, Asia and South America who will be on attachment with host farmers in Israel beginning September this year.
The graduates, while in Israel, will be attached to cooperative farms called kibbutz, where they will work for five days on the field and one day in a classroom.
The Minister of Food and agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who is currently in Israel as head of a government and business delegation, struck the deal with his Israeli counterpart, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Uri Ariel, during a courtesy call on the latter.
The minister is in Israel to participate in the 20th International Agricultural Exhibition and Conference dubbed, Agritech Israel 2018, in Tel Aviv, Israel, which opened yesterday.
Mr Ariel, who had initially allocated 30 slots for Ghana on the programme, increased the number after Dr Akoto prevailed upon him to consider admitting 50 for a start with consistent increment in subsequent years depending on the performance of the first batch.
The beneficiaries, who have already completed the three-month training with an Israeli company, Agritop Ltd, at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region, are expected to be taken through orientation by July before joining their counterparts in Israel for the attachment programme.
The essence of the programme is to give the graduates hands-on practical training in what they learnt in the classroom.
While in Israel, the graduates will be paid a monthly allowance, which they will be expected to save to enable them to kick-start their own agri-business upon their return to Ghana.
Dr Akoto expressed gratitude to Israel, particularly Mr Ariel, for increasing the number of Ghanaian participants.
He said Ghana was working in partnership with Agritop on greenhouse technology, so that when the students returned from Israel, they would be allocated some hectares of already prepared lands for them to enter into vegetable production.
Dr Akoto noted that there was a vast opportunity in the vegetable sector, not only on the local market, but also on the European market, adding that the government was enticing the youth to go into vegetable farming.
The government, he added, was eager to train many graduates in that direction to help turn agriculture round as a business venture.
Decision for attachment
Dr Akoto explained that the decision to offer Ghanaian students hands-on training in Israel was initiated last year when he first visited Israel to explore the opportunities.
He explained that it was in recognition of the fact that Israel had vast experience in greenhouse technology and it was expected that such hands-on training would assist the graduates to better understand the dynamics of vegetable farming.