The second batch of 70 Ghanaian graduates in agricultural studies is set for an 11-month practical attachment on farms in Israel.
The programme, which was launched in Accra yesterday, is the product of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed among relevant bodies of the two countries.
The participants in this year’s programme have been selected from those who underwent a three-month training in Ghana on greenhouse technology with an Israeli agricultural company, AgriTop Ltd, and agricultural students in the universities.
Under the MoU, Ghana was to present the 50 graduates for a start, with the offer of increment in subsequent years depending on the performance of the first batch.
The first batch of 50 graduates left Ghana in October last year to undergo the 11-month attachment and are expected to complete the programme in August and graduate in September this year.
It was based on the satisfactory performance of the first batch that the government of Israel has increased this year’s quota to 70.
Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and the then Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ami Mehl, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective countries.
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While in Israel, the graduates will be attached to cooperative farms called Kibbutz, where they will work on the field for five days and be in the classroom for a day.
The Ghanaian graduates will be joined by other beneficiaries from other parts of Africa, Asia and South America for the programme, which will begin from September this year.
Speaking before the recruitment exercise, which included face-to-face interviews, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubida, expressed delight that those in the first batch had given a good account of themselves.
“You will be the second batch we are sending from Ghana to Israel. Currently, there are 50 Ghanaians who, like you, studied in universities and then did the training of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in AgriTop and continued to Israel,” she said.
“And I am telling you they are representing Ghana excellently.
The farmers in Israel are very happy to work with them. They are loyal and responsible.
They are using their heads and I am very proud of these Ghanaians who are representing Ghana in Israel,” she added.
‘You are ambassadors’
The Ambassador advised those to be selected eventually to note that they were going to Israel as ambassadors of Ghana and, therefore, should bear in mind that they were there as representatives of Ghana.
Mrs Cooper-Zubida reminded the participants that what they were going through was their first step towards becoming successful agribusiness entrepreneurs and added that the great opportunity came with great responsibility.
“Israel has been and will continue to be a sustainable partner for Ghana and this is what we are doing right now and what we have been through MASHAV,” she said, in reference to the Israeli Development Cooperation Agency.
Continuity of internship
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Tree Crops, Mr George Oduro, told the candidates that the government was making agriculture a priority and that the venture could not succeed without their input, as he touted the government’s determination to use the agricultural sector to propel the economic growth of the country.
He told them that their success in the recruiting process depended on the return of all the 50 participants in the first batch, reminding them that if even one person did not return, not a single of the second batch would go.
The Chief Executive Officer of AgroStudies, an agricultural capacity-building organisation and organisers of the internship programme, Mr Yaron Tamir, told the candidates that agriculture was a profitable business when undertaken on professional lines.
The students, he said, would join others from 15 other countries for the programme and would earn monthly salaries to cushion them, while other welfare issues would be the responsibility of the organisation.