Many young people have negative opinion of agriculture in Ghana

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Agriculture remains an integral part of the Ghanaian economy, contributing about 20 per cent on average to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, as indicated by the Ghana Statistical Service.

It is one of the nation’s largest employers, providing a source of income to 30 per cent of the Ghanaian population.

Recognising the significant role of agriculture in the economy, the Government and the private sector have, over the years, instituted initiatives, with many of them targeting the youth, just to harness the sector’s full potential.

The 2021 Heifer International Report says only five per cent of Ghanaian youth work in the agriculture sector, surprisingly.

The reason for this is the difficulty in obtaining finance, training, and mentorship necessary for a prosperous career in agriculture.

In addition, many young people have a negative opinion of agriculture in Ghana, which, unfortunately, is frequently connected with rural poverty and subsistence farming and perceived as a labour-intensive, low-profit industry.

That, notwithstanding, a dynamic group of young entrepreneurs is influencing practices and views in the agricultural sector, leading to a narrative shift.

These forward-thinking people are using entrepreneurship to promote innovation, sustainability, and social impact throughout the value chain in addition to accepting agriculture as a viable career option.

With one invention at a time, they are steadily changing this narrative and portraying agriculture as a thriving, technologically advanced sector full of growth and development prospects.

Crucial to the success of these young entrepreneurs is the introduction of incubation hubs, serving as a supportive ecosystem that provides mentorship, financing, and networking opportunities.

These incubation hubs, scattered across the country, are not only providing aspiring young innovators with the resources and mentorship they need to flourish but are also catalysing a transformative wave of entrepreneurship in the agricultural space.

Through pitch competitions, investor forums, and matchmaking events, incubation hubs facilitate interactions between entrepreneurs and potential investors, helping to bridge the funding gap and catalyse the growth of promising startups, while helping to increase the likelihood of success for young entrepreneurs seeking funding to scale their ventures.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant incubation hubs that has developed agricultural entrepreneurship among the Ghanaian youth is the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), which provides essential resources and infrastructure.

The Centre has carved a niche for itself as a leading incubation hub for the nation’s agricultural space. It has been at the forefront of driving innovation, fostering entrepreneurship, and catalysing sustainable development in Ghana’s agricultural landscape through many uniquely curated initiatives.

Through the AgriTech Challenge Pro, a flagship programme by KIC, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, it has empowered many young entrepreneurs to tackle pressing challenges in the sector by developing innovative solutions that address key pain points along the value chain.

The unique array of activities that characterise the several stages of the Challenge has provided aspiring entrepreneurs with access to mentorship, training, funding, and resources to transform their ideas into viable businesses.

It is encouraging to meet young people who are leveraging on creativity and collaboration to contribute to the agricultural space. This is a clear indication of the young people championing the course of agriculture in Ghana.

The transformative impact of the Centre’s tailor-made programmes on the country’s agricultural sector cannot be underestimated.

Through the provision of innovative solutions, and collaborative partnerships, the Centre has empowered entrepreneurs to harness technology and pioneer sustainable practices, revolutionising the agricultural ecosystem.

By so doing, the KIC not only addresses the immediate challenges but also lays the foundation for long-term resilience and prosperity in the sector.

The success story of the KIC AgriTech Challenge Pro is better told by the contributions of the winners of the Challenge, who have great ideas to providing tailor-made solutions to the country’s agricultural ecosystem.

These include Trotro Tractor, a powerful on-demand platform that connects farmers to nearby tractor operators using mobile phones and GPS, and Agro Sourcing, an agribusiness that works with agricultural companies to provide a viable, cost-effective alternative to traditional waste disposal.

This year, with participants being coached by 10 tertiary schools nationwide, who knows what the next invention KIC and Mastercard Foundation’s AgriTech Challenge Pro Programme would help uncover. Your guess is as good as mine!

(The author, Mr Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, is the Executive Director of the Kosmos Innovation Centre).

A feature by Benjamin Gyan-Kesse

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