Agribusiness remains the main entry point for young people into Ghana’s agriculture sector. It could significantly reduce youth unemployment which is approximated at 40%, especially in rural areas. The major challenge to establishing an agribusiness enterprise in Ghana, however, remains the lack of skills, access to capital, land, inputs, and other productive resources, and the unfavourable policy environment. Even with a very good agribusiness idea, most young people struggle with where to access the knowledge and skills on agriculture value chains, access financing, access markets, and manage risks of the agricultural sector like changing weather patterns, price fluctuations, post-harvest losses among others. This notwithstanding, sections of Ghanaian youth have braved the odds and managing world-class agribusiness enterprises in areas of technology access, financial innovations, research and innovation, commercial farm operations, et al. This should serve as a catalyst to spur Ghanaian youth further to explore more of these agribusiness potentials. Some production side opportunities in the Agricultural value chain worth considering include:
Cassava and corn products: starch, chips, dough, gari, flour
Production of fruit juices,wines, jam, vinegar
Cocoa Products: beverages, butter, confectionery, cosmetics
Production of essential oil
Production of agro-industrial machinery
Production of silos
Waste to energy, waste treatment,and disposal, waste paper recycling
Solar-powered salt production
Youth agricultural cooperatives have proved to be an effective mechanism for engaging young people in off-farm enterprises, providing a range of services to members, and facilitating access to and management of natural resources such as land and water. Additionally, they help develop the self-confidence, entrepreneurial spirit, and social capital of its members.
Youth cooperatives can yield greater benefits for promoting-transformative work opportunities as the social capital and collective action is used to drive policy and better governance in the agricultural sector. They help the marginalized to develop a strong, constructive voice and enhance their participation in policy dialogues so that youth-sensitive policies are more likely to be developed (Bingen, et al., 2003; ILO, 2012).
In Ghana, Youth Cooperatives and networks such as the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN), Greener Impact International, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), Young Farmers’ League, National Coalition of Youth in Commercial Agriculture, Agro-Mindset Organisation, Federation of Young Farmers, Farmers’ Aprentice Programme, Agrihub Ghana K-Space are examples of such initiatives. These organisations needs the appropriate financial and network support to scale-up their service offerings across the country.
This is the 1st in a 12-series blog articles to espouse the context of the Position Paper on effectively mainstreaming Youth in Agriculture in Ghana which is under development with support from USAID/Agricultural Policy Support Programme (USAID/APSP).
Author: Syecomp Ghana Ltd
Email the author: Projects@syecomp.com
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.