[BLOG] Agribusiness: A booming sector for the youth in Ghana
By Linda Larbie
In Ghana, agriculture is a dominant sector and a main contributor to the economic development of the country. According to FAGRO, the agriculture sector plays a critical role in reducing poverty and achieving economic growth. It employs about 60% of the labour force and contributes about 40% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It also accounts for over 57% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Higher involvement by youth in agriculture in Ghana is vital to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production and achieving the agricultural transformation agenda of the Ghanaian government.
The agriculture sector also provides opportunities for individuals such as financial independence and the nutritional security of families. This is evidence of the gold rush in investing into this industry by foreign investors. It is high time the youth of this country takes a critical look at this industry and grab opportunities out of it, rather than turning a blind eye to it.
Ghanaian youths are not into agriculture and are not going into it for various reasons. Many value their certificate and ‘status’ in the community as university graduates; they effortlessly search for white-collar jobs that are in reality non-existent. They do not take agriculture as a business that can generate profits like any other successful business. They show little or no interest and view it as work for our forefathers and mothers in the village.
The youth must transform job seekers in job creators and erase negative perceptions about farming, showcasing that it can bring people great wealth and prosperity. Skilled young people including agriculture graduates can play a major role in providing services in the rural areas, transforming the current subsistence agriculture into an extensive and business-oriented one with the food security assured, as well as rural development.
It is time for youths to develop themselves, not as passive development actors but as aggressive and active actors who can achieve a sustainable agricultural sector.
On the part of government, solving youth unemployment can be driven through the creation of policies that encourage youths to become productive in the rural areas, and to be innovative and create opportunities for self-employment.