3 Entities collaborate to enhance food security
The National Service Scheme (NSS), Jospong Group of Companies and the Asian-African Consortium (AAC) have agreed to join hands to strategically deploy and groom 1,000 national service personnel in the agricultural sector.
This is a step towards nurturing a more resilient and food-sufficient country.
The Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, Osei Assibey Antwi, speaking at a two-day induction ceremony organised for the service personnel at the Pentecost Convention Centre at Gomoah Fetteh in the Central Region, expressed appreciation to the Jospong Group and the AAC for their partnership.
He said the partnership was one of the concrete actions the National Service Scheme was intentionally undertaking to implement its new goal of “Deployment for Employment”.
The NSS Executive Director appealed to the nation's institutions and colleges that offered agricultural programmes to modernise their curricula and allow for meaningful practical attachments, as was the case in other professions.
The ceremony was attended by several stakeholders in the agriculture ecosystem of the country, including a Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Livestock), Alhaji Hardi Tufeiru, the Director of Research at the Youth Employment Agency, Agya Yaw Nsia, other large-scale farm owners, the President of the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body (GRIB), Nana Kwabena Adjei Ayeh II, and the 2021 National Best Youth Farmer, Marian Ofori Twumasi.
The expectation of the scheme for the collaboration was to provide the service personnel with practical experience to complement the theoretical concepts they had studied in the classroom, he added.
It would also provide a great opportunity for the national service personnel (NSP) to become “agric-preneurs” and thus reduce graduate unemployment in the country.
Mr Assibey Antwi admonished the service personnel to take this rare opportunity seriously and reminded the current batch of service personnel that as the scheme's first graduates following its golden jubilee anniversary, they were expected to set a new, constructive precedent that future batches would be proud to follow.
He further disclosed that the scheme was putting in place additional programmes in other economic sectors, including housing and construction, information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, hospitality, all of which were aimed at supporting the scheme’s goal of reducing the unemployment rate for Ghanaian graduates.
Hard work, experience
The Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Joseph Siaw Agyepong, explained that over 46 farmer groups across the 16 regions had been engaged to serve as centres to which the service personnel would be attached for training.
He further disclosed that over 100 full scholarships for postgraduate studies in agriculture in countries, including Russia, Thailand, Japan, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, would be made available for outstanding personnel at the end of the service year.
Osei Assibey Antwi (right), Executive Director of NSS, addressing the participants
Sharing a story of his own humble beginnings and how far he had come, the executive chairman inspired the service personnel to be passionate about their work by putting in a lot of effort as well as being driven by good intentions.
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer of AAC, Adelaide Siaw Agyepong, expressed hope and optimism about the project, saying it would provide valuable hands-on experience for personnel as well as enhance their abilities across the entire rice production value chain.
The national service personnel, she said, would be exposed to training in land preparation, agricultural research, mechanised farming, sustainable and data-driven farming, safety and compliance, networking, career development, among others.
The AAC boss further proclaimed that the programme would open doors to future job prospects for NSP as they would, at the end of the service year, acquire expertise that would make them very competitive in the employment market.