Officials and some beneficiaries of the programme after the launch
Officials and some beneficiaries of the programme after the launch

326,000 Youth to benefit from transformative agric programme

A private agribusiness firm, Agri-Impact Group, has received support from the Mastercard Foundation to roll out a project aimed at empowering and creating dignified jobs in the agriculture value chain for 326,000 young people in Ghana.

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Focusing on rice, soya, poultry and tomatoes value chains, the four year initiative, known as Harness Agricultural Productivity and Prosperity for Youth (HAPPY) programme would cover four models.

The models are HAPPY Broiler project, Youth Entrepreneurship in Seed System Programme (YESSPro), Diversity Women Agricultural Occupation for Wealth (DiWAOW), Disability Inclusive Agriculture for Prosperity (DIAP), and Tomato Processing Incubation Centre (ToPIC).

The initiative is set to work across all 16 regions of Ghana, targeting young people between 15 and 35 years who will receive training and support, including start-up packs, with a commitment to pay back to ensure the sustainability of the initiative.

The collaboration extends to academic institutions such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and partners the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management.

In line with the project, Agri-Impact Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of KNUST for the training of beneficiaries and the handling of some models under the project that would encourage the youth to use ICT and AI to promote agriculture and enhance poultry production.

Giving an overview of the project, the Deputy CEO of Agri-Impact Group, Juliet Asante-Dartey, said the programme aimed to generate $200 million in revenue annually and reduce food import bill of the food products under the initiative by 10 per cent.

Additionally, she said it would lead to 22 per cent reduction in youth employment, lead to an increment in food and nutrition security, rural and urban economic growth and optimise productivity of public and private sector investments.

She said the initiative would involve nine partners, including the National Service Secretariat, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Catholic Relief Services, Jobberman and New Age Agri Solutions and Technoserve.

The initiative, she said, sought to empower and build the capacity of young individuals and encourage their active participation in agriculture.

Also to address supply chain management issues she said the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management was on board to ensure seamless farm-to-market operations.

Beacon of hope

The Group CEO of Agri-Impact, Dan Acquaye, highlighted the importance of technology in the transformation, emphasising the role it plays in achieving production and productivity goals.

He said the programme presented a beacon of hope for the youth, offering them not just employment opportunities but also a chance to actively contribute to the nation's economic growth.

Encouraging youth participation, the CEO emphasised that the platform was open to everyone, regardless of their background in computer science or technology.

Readiness

The Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at KNUST, Professor Ben Banful, expressed excitement about the project's impact on boiler production and ICT.

Highlighting the significance of the programme in transforming Ghana's agricultural systems using ICT, the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at KNUST, Prof. Nana Ewusi

Mensah announced a master class for future entrepreneurs, a cohort targeting Happy Tech professors, and a front-end development certificate programme.

After sharing an experience about the challenges in practical training for agribusiness students, an Associate professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, KNUST, Prof. Robert Aidoo, highlighted the significance of the partnership in addressing those issues.

He said the plan to involve numerous institutions across the country would help create avenues for internships and provide students with hands-on experience.

The lead executive of the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management, Richard Asante Amoah, pledged support for leveraging integrated supply chain management, aiming to change mindsets and boost effective productivity.

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Representing the partners, the Managing partner of New Age Agri Solutions Limited, Roland Quaye, highlighted the significance of preparing students with the necessary skills for the jobs in the agriculture sector.

He encouraged students to take advantage of internships to ensure they were well-equipped for future job positions.

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