The Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide has implored the youth to patronize Agro products that are produced and process in the country. This, the Deputy Minister believes would go a long way to solving Africa’s and for that matter Ghana’s scary youth unemployment challenge.
The Youth and Sports Minister bemoaned the situation where large amount of foreign exchange is used to import food products that could easily be provided in the country, stating that “we need to grow what we eat and eat what we grow”.
The Minister made these remarks at the launch of the Agric Automation and Virtual Farming Program (VFP) in Accra.
The VFP is an innovative programme by the Ministry of Agriculture and its partners to entice over 200,000 youth are Ghanaians working in the formal sector in Ghana and overseas into commercial mechanized agricultural activities.
Acknowledging the potential of the Agricultural Sector to solve the unemployment challenge in the country, Hon. Hadzide said the Ministry of Youth and Sports is encouraged to mobilize the youth into Agricultural production.
“Our Ministry intends to establish crop farms such as onion and tomato farms incorporating over 5000 youth under the special Virtual Farmer Program in the next two years”- the Minister disclosed.
Hon. Hadzide commended Oz Agribusiness Projects and Investments Limited (OAPI) and its partners, VCL Ghana Limited for the concept of commercial mechanized farms for the youth.
This, the Deputy Minister indicated, is in line with Government’s commitment to address youth unemployment through policies such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s “Youth in Agriculture Programme” (YIAP).
Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Director of Crop Services, Mr. Seth Osei Akoto said MOFA together with its partners would continue to roll-out and promote such novelties to entice the youth and eventually make Ghana a potential food basket in the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
The country representative of UNFAO, Dr. Nii Okai Hammond also commended the brains behind the VFP and stated that the use of technology in Agribusiness would be key to attracting the youth to accept as a lucrative and exciting venture.