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General News of Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Source: Eddie Ameh

There’s dignity in farming - Ayikoi Otoo advises youth

Ayikoi Otoo, Ghana’s high commissioner to Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Africa Forum

Ghana’s high commissioner to Canada, Ayikoi Otoo has advised the youth to go into farming because it is profitable and can create more employment.

Ayikoi Otoo made the call when he took his turn at this year’s Commonwealth Africa Forum in Toronto Canada over the weekend.

“There is evidence that the age range of people in farming are not the Youth. We need to let the Youth know that there is dignity in labour and that Agribusiness is a profitable business,” he said.

Ayikoi Otoo challenged African governments to create the enabling environment for the youth and make agriculture attractive.

He said Africa has the fastest growing population with more than half comprising the youth.

“The energies of these Youth can be channelled into Agribusiness and we can Industrialize Agribusiness using the Youth who are generally technology savvy than the older generation and thereby change the face of Agribusiness for ever.”

He said Africa lacks trained man power of agricultural officers. Not many students pursue that course and most who do end up in other sectors of the economy.

Ayikoi Otoo charged governments of developing countries to re- orientate their people to move away from the educational system which regarded Agribusiness as menial and not meant for educated citizens.

He said even though technical and vocational training education is on the rise, lack of Workshops end up with the training of students without practical skills.

He said the NPP’s implementation of the “Planting for Food and Job” Program, which offers support in extension services and absolving half the cost of improved seeds and fertilizers to small holder farmers, are parts of efforts to create a robust agricultural sector in the country with strong participation of the youth. Government is constructing warehouses in every District in Ghana to boost storage.

Ayikoi Otoo advised Africa Governments to adopt this programme while taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. This will help increase intra African trade and Agribusiness could be industrialised also on the back of the demographic dividend of Africa.

The Commonwealth Africa Forum is a platform for eminent and emerging leaders from different sections of society from around Africa and the Commonwealth to discuss leadership and innovation in Africa. It serves a platform for an intergenerational exchange of ideas and opinions about practical challenges facing the continent, and opportunities available on the continent.

Past speakers have included Former President John Dramani Mahama. This year’s forum also had the likes of Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and African billionaire Aliko Dangote as speakers.