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General News of Sunday, 15 December 2019

Source: Reuben Quainoo

'Venture into Agric to ensure Hunger Free Nation' - Best Agroforestry Farmer urges youth


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The 2019 National Best Agroforestry Farmer, Robben Asare has urged the youth to venture into agriculture to help drive sustainable industrialisation and help ensure a hunger and malnutrition free continent.

The National Best Agroforestry Farmer believes that Agriculture plays a critical role in food security, political stability and world peace, yet in Africa, the youth seems disinterested in Agriculture.

The Atwima Mponua District Best Farmer for 2014 wants the youth to venture into agriculture to help address the food and nutrition insecurity challenges on the African continent.

He made these remarks on the sidelines of the 35th Farmers Day Celebration which was held in Ho under the theme: “Enhancing small scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness development” organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The Celebration brought various value chain actors to the Volta Regional capital.

Mr Asare said more than 60 per cent of Africans are below 35 years old and more than half live in rural areas yet they are not seen in Agricultural activities.

“Young people can be the engine of Africa’s economic transformation through agribusiness if our talents and energy are harnessed into Agriculture” he indicated.

He added that an enabling policy environment is needed to facilitate massive uptake of agricultural technologies for increased productivity, to make agriculture a viable business. “African policymakers should liberalise national seed systems and harmonise registration of inputs such as seeds and fertilizers” he whispered.

“There are so many opportunities in agribusiness and I see the agricultural sector as an exciting employment and business opportunity for young people, I started farming in 2016 with 2acres of Yam farm; in 2019 I had 50 acres of maize farm and 3 acres of Yam farm, in August this same year, I harvested 150 acres of maize and owns 230 acres of land, why shouldn’t I be excited,” he asked.

He pointed out that without passion and zeal, it will be difficult to excel in Agribusiness and so the youth must love Agricultural and go the extra mile to keep themselves informed on the nitty-gritty of the sector.

“There are opportunities in postharvest, warehousing, technology and even teaching and so it all depends on what the youth wants” he added.

The National Best Agroforestry Farmer believes long-term, low-interest loans for buying agricultural machinery, inputs and land development should be provided to create a competitive agricultural sector for the youth.

“We need to remove inappropriate policies, such as export bans, to provide farmers a fair price for their produce. It is critical to embrace agriculture as a business” he insisted.

“My award is a new category introduced by the Ministry of food and Agriculture into the award scheme, adding it seeks to reward farmers who cultivate crops as well as tree planting and indeed my hard work has paid me today,” he indicated.

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