JAK Foundation holds maiden Youth in Agribusiness Festival

The John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation (JAKF) has held the maiden edition of the Youth in Agribusiness festival in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, to establish the Youth in Agribusiness Information hub in Ghana.

The festival is designed to showcase the outstanding development of young people within the agribusiness sector. It seeks to celebrate distinguished young agribusiness practitioners by providing the platform for them to share their success stories.

The three day event which is taking place at Jubilee Park and the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi, from Wednesday , July 27 to Friday July 29 2022, would see participants enjoy activities such as; exhibition of Agribusiness Products and ServicesThe event would also pave way for an honest and open discussion on important agribusiness areas such as innovative financing, investment, marketing, digitalization, agritech, standardization and certification, and export promotion among others from a panel of experts from the public, private, and development partners.

These the organizers strongly believe are areas that are central to the facilitation of youth participation in agribusiness development in GhanaThe Chief Executive Officer of JAK Foundation Prof. Baffour Agyeman- Duah, during the official opening of the event said, the festival was to provide facilities for young entrepreneurs in the agric sector to network and also share their results with the public.

Touchingon the theme for the celebration: “Youth in Agribusiness in Ghana: the story so far and the way forward”, the CEO for JAK Foundation explained that it was important to provide the platform to share the experiences, learn lessons, and network along the value chain which will serve as an inspiration to generate interest for both employed and unemployed youths, more especially for those who do not see agribusiness as an attractive business venture will be exposed to the achievement of youth in Agribusiness.

The Convener of the Youth in Agribusiness Festival, Jeffrey Agyemang-Duah, said the festival is envisaged to bring together major stakeholders in agribusiness on one platform to share their experiences, and lessons learnt, and to network along the agricultural value chain.

He furthered that the festival fulfills one of the primary objectives of the Kufuor Young Entrepreneurs Network, a flagship initiative of the John A. Kufuor Foundation. ”The festival seeks to provide an opportunity to demonstrate and celebrate the significant contributions of young agribusiness practitioners in Ghana and leverage their success stories as an inspirational tool to onboard more young people into the sector”, he explained.He added that the objective of JAK Foundation to organise the festival was to bring together, under one platform, young agribusiness practitioners between the ages of 18 to 35, and major stakeholders; affording these young people an opportunity to share their experiences, lessons learnt and network for the development of the agricultural value chain. He observed that consistent demonization of agriculture and its related business over the years have led to a high level of disinterest amongst the youth, threatening its sustainability, adding that, “efforts put together by the public and private sector to whip up the interest of young people in the agricultural sector have yielded some results but there is more to do considering our anticipated transformation agenda in the agriculture sector.”  Mr. Duah opined that, onboarding young people into the sector was very crucial because there is compelling evidence of an aging farmer population in Ghana which must be addressed to facilitate sustainability in agriculture production. “Agribusiness is one of the strategic avenues that provide employment opportunities, especially for the teeming unemployed youth.

In addition, increase productivity in the agricultural sector will depend on the youth who constitute the majority of Ghana’s active population. Their energy’s, numbers, and ability to adapt to new ideas, concepts, and technology provide tremendous opportunities for agricultural transformation,” he added. In his candid opinion, there is the need to nurture the next crop of young agribusiness entrepreneurs who will not just take over from the aged but will dominate the sector and make a significant change.

“The lack of skillful and energetic young people to employ modern agricultural technology to maximize food production is one of the contributing factors that have increased our import bill, making the country vulnerable to catastrophic events like Covid 19 and war that have negatively impacted food production from external sources and the high inflation that we are witnessing in Ghana today.

 

The youth is strategic to the success of any effort to boost Ghana’s food production,” he noted.He disclosed that at the end of the festival, the John A. Kufuor Foundation will set up the ‘Youth in Agribusiness Information Hub’. This hub he explained, was develop opportunity-oriented and vibrant young agribusiness practitioners who have gone through coaching and practical mentorship orientation and have been equipped with the necessary tools to make a significant change in Ghana’s agribusiness sector. Apagyahene, Nana Owusu Afriyie IV, who was the chairman for the occasion, encouraged the youth and the participants not to leave out their dreams of venturing into agriculture but pursue to the end since there are more exploits in it.In his succinct remarks, William Agyei -Manu, Vice Chairman for the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), made a clarion call to the youth to take agriculture business seriously since it is the backbone of the country’s economy.

He said it was important to encourage the youth to understand that they can also make a living in the agriculture business industry. Mr. Manu who is also the Executive Director for Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence (GCCE), assured the JAK Foundation that the AGI were committed to support the Youth in Agribusiness Programme to the fullest.

 

FROM David Afum, Kumasi

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