The Youth In Agriculture and Aquaculture Programme (YIAAP) has registered 11,000 youth farmers across the country (Ghana) as part of the government’s effort to entice the younger generation into the sector.
The programme is a component of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative of the government that seeks to tackle the double challenge of food security and job creation.
It also affords farmers the opportunity to expand their production in a planting season to increase revenue and nutritional requirements for the family.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops, Dr. Sagre Bangbangi, who disclosed this, said the campaign was expected to create more than 750,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers, input dealers, warehouse assistants and other personnel in the agricultural value chain.
The deputy minister said this when he inspected some farms in the Sissala West District in the Upper West Region to assess the progress of the initiative in the region.
He said the target was to engage about five million youth farmers over the next four years.
“We have also completed the process of engaging 1,200 agricultural extension agents to boost the numbers of the existing ones to assist the farmers with best practices to enable them to optimise their yields,” he said.
Dr. Bangbangi, who was once a lecturer in the discipline of agriculture, expressed satisfaction with the agronomic practices on the farms he visited, insisting that the government’s involvement had impacted both the quantity and quality of inputs and the potential yields for the individual farmers.
He expressed delight at the youthfulness of the farmers he interacted with (their ages range between 25 and 45) and encouraged them to sustain their interest in agriculture to reap bigger revenues.
Masara project farmer testimonials
In the Upper West Region, the YIAAP has engaged Masara N’Arziki, an agribusiness investor, as a partner in the implementation of the programme.
According to the National Coordinator of YIAAP, Mr Klutse Kudomor, farmers on the Masara project had expanded the acreage of their farms up to seven times their previous production.
Indeed, one such farmer, 30-year-old Zakariya Inusah, said he cultivated a 30-acre maize farm in the current planting season as compared to the 10-acre farm he did last year.
Another farmer, 26-year-old Bakari Iddrisu, who left senior high school (SHS) in 2014, had cultivated a 50-acre maize farm, a vast improvement on his 15-acre farm of last year, he said.
Masara provides inputs, including seeds and chemicals, to the over 12,000 farmers registered with the company, and the farmers pay back the investments in installments over a decided period.