The youth need jobs, agric sector holds the key – Dr. Afriyie Akoto
The agriculture sector has been identified as the key to unlocking massive unemployment among the youth in Ghana, according to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, a flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting organized by the NPP, Canada branch, Dr. Afriyie Akoto noted that Ghana only needs to make the right investment to unleash the potential of the sector.
He emphasized that the job opportunities in the agriculture sector are enormous and include industrialization, agro processing, advertising, among others. Dr. Afriyie Akoto insisted that with proper investment, the fortunes of Ghana could be transformed.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto's vision is targeted at the youth. He believes that to have an impact on the youth is to create job opportunities for them, and the agriculture sector holds the key. He made this observation on Monday, May 7, 2023, when he interacted with the party faithful on his vision for the UP Tradition and Ghana as a whole.
“My vision is really targeted at the youth. To have an impact on the youth is to create job opportunities for them. They youth really need jobs and the agriculture sector holds the key”, he noted.
Responding to a question about the fate of NPP youth under his leadership, Dr. Afriyie Akoto noted that the approach to addressing the myriads of unemployment issues confronting the youth has to do with pragmatic policies. He assured the audience that under his leadership, he will put in place policies that prioritize investment in the agriculture sector.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto proposed setting up an Agriculture Management Team under his leadership as President of Ghana. The team will consist of seven notable ministries related to agriculture, including the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, Ministry of Roads and Highways, and Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
He also expressed disappointment with the declining fortunes of the poultry industry, which he has little control over due to international trade challenges. Dr. Afriyie Akoto acknowledged the challenges that poultry farmers have faced over the years, such as the high cost of poultry feed. However, he emphasized that Ghana's production of soy has gone up from 150,000 metric tons to 230,000 metric tons, and that international trade is a significant factor in the challenges facing the poultry industry.
“I know the challenge the poultry farmers have gone through over the years to the extent that prices of poultry feed have more than doubled in some cases. Some have attributed the challenge to lack of enough maize whiles others too are saying it has to do with unavailability of soya beans. Well, our production of soy has gone up from 150,000 metric tons to 230,000 metric tons and that is no mean an achievement. The thing is that a lot of these things have to do with international trade. We are bringing chicken into this country at something like GHS14.00 per kilo when the total cost of production as we are speaking is more than GHS35.00 per kilo. With that, I cannot see how anybody can produce chicken in the European Union or America. You put it in a ship, brig it all the way to Tema and charge GHS14.00. Obviously, there is some distortionary burden somewhere”, he said.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto's proposals were well received by the audience, who saw them as pragmatic solutions to the unemployment crisis facing Ghana's youth.
His vision for the agriculture sector as a key driver of economic growth and job creation resonated with many, and his proposal to set up an Agriculture Management Team has been praised as a bold and innovative approach to tackling the challenges facing the sector.