The youth of Ghana have been advised to embrace agribusiness as a way of creating jobs for themselves and others and ultimately improve their living conditions. Trades and Industry Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, gave the advice in the Brong Ahafo region when he visited some small businesses being supported by the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) under his Ministry.
Speaking at the poultry farm of young Emmanuel Frimpong in Bechem, Dr Spio-Garbrah explained that many young persons, especially graduates of tertiary institutions, are losing out on the enormous opportunities in the agricultural sector due to negative perceptions they hold towards farming and related agribusinesses.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah said he was very impressed with Emmanuel Frimpong’s story on how he opted to go into poultry farming after graduating from the University of Ghana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. The 36 year old proprietor of “God with Us” Farms told the Minister that he started the farm with an amount of GH¢500 which was his savings from his National Service Allowances. He explained that with that amount, he was able to buy 200 day-old broiler chicks to start his poultry business. He was later supported by the MP for the area with an amount of GH¢2000 to buy layers to add to his stock. He also mentioned that through REP, he was trained in poultry feed preparation and disease control. In 2015, Frimpong received a credit facility of GH¢7,500 under REP’s Matching Grants Fund to expand the farm’s infrastructure. 30 percent of the amount was provided as a grant by REP.
Commenting on Frimpong’s testimony, Dr. Spio-Garbrah mentioned that there are many worthy and encouraging examples of young people in different parts of the country, such as Emmanuel Frimpong, who are using agribusiness to create jobs for themselves and others. He believes there is no point for young graduates to form an association of unemployed graduates and wasting their precious time and life waiting for someone to employ them.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah therefore entreated the youth to take a cue from the likes of Emmanuel Frimpong and take advantage of the interventions provided by REP through its 161 District Business Advisory Centers (BACs) and 21 Rural Technology Facilities (RTFs) nationwide to set up their own businesses. He explained that through the BACs, all interested youth will be provided with relevant skills training in various agribusinesses and other trades such as batik tie and dye, leatherworks, ceramics etc. He added that the RTFs are also there to provide the needed equipment for agro-processing at very affordable prices.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah visited the Kyekyeku Poultry Farm and Hope Palm oil and Cassava Processing Center in the Tano South District; and Paul Chang Fish Farm and Obiri Woodworks in the Tano North District. The Minister and his entourage also visited other MSEs engaged in Cassava processing in Wenchi; leathers and mushroom production in Techiman; and chalk and soap production in Berekum.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah also went the Rural Technology Facility in Bechem to interact with staff and trainees and also inspect some agro-processing equipment produced.