Young Ghanaians have been advised to explore huge opportunities in the agriculture sector to satisfy bulk food and fresh vegetable demands from the oil and gas industry in the country and in the West Africa sub-region.
The opportunities are to cater for the daily food needs of thousands of workers on numerous platforms offshore and maritime support services companies operating in the country and beyond.
The daily food requirement by players in the oil and gas industry, which covers supply boats, ocean going merchant vessels for fresh fruits, vegetables and other agriculture produce, which provide opportunity for young people to enter into the agriculture sector to fill the gap.
The role of chiefs
Speaking at the local Content Conference and Exhibition in Takoradi, the Deputy Minister of Energy, in-charge of Petroleum, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, said currently there is a collaboration with chiefs in the Western Region, spearheaded by the Petroleum Commission for the release of land for agriculture especially for the youth.
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The land, he said would be offered to the youth to enter into agriculture to produce fruits, fresh vegetables and other agriculture produce, which are consumed on regular basis on the offshore platforms, with ready off-takers who provide catering and support services to the industry.
The project which is directed at the youth and those already in agriculture, offers opportunities as a result of oil and gas industry. Amin Adam said, “the agriculture initiative will be captured and implemented as part of the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.”
The Deputy Minister commended the commitment of oil companies to ensure deepening in-country activities that identify with the project by providing technical support as part of their social investment and support for local content.
Amin Adam explained that currently as activities in the country’s offshore basins increase, “so will be the competition for space among various sectors, demands and users of the sea.”
In order to ensure the required skills and attract more small and medium companies, the Petroleum Commission has revamped its Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), which would help those in the sector to also develop skills as vendors.
The acting Chief Executive of the Petroleum Commission, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr., said the Commission received approval from the sector ministry to revamp and manage the EDC.
“This is a boost to the Commission’s agenda of developing the capacity of our small and medium scale enterprises to play an active role in the industry,” he said.
The Commission, he said had accordingly established a dedicated department known as the Business Advisory and Enterprise Development Department to provide business support services and enterprise development programmes to local companies in a bid to make them competitive and ‘business ready’.