In the past four years, the Agricultural Students Career and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD –AFRICA), has brought together over six hundred (600) agribusiness students from over thirty (30) different high schools and agric colleges across the country.
Directly, seven hundred and fifty (750) campers have benefitted from the mentoring, coaching, and Competence-Based Training and Corporate Field Tours the Bootcamp offers.
Indirectly, about twelve thousand (12,000) non-campers have also benefitted from the practical training sessions, empowering them to develop bankable business plans agribusinesses within their schools and communities. Presently, some alumni’s have established forty-three (43) successful agribusinesses.
The five (5) days Bootcamp is a practical beginner agribusinesses initiative of Agrihouse Foundation, designed to develop agric students, beginner agribusinesses and start-ups’ expertise. The Bootcamp exposes the participants to the dynamics of the market, through education and leadership programs essential for achieving success in agriculture and agribusiness.
The 5th edition of the Bootcamp is expected to open on Monday, March 28, to Friday, April 1, 2022, at the Flagstaff House, at the invitation of His Excellency the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia.
The Vice President would be engaging the agric students and beginner agribusinesses in a mentoring session aimed at inspiring the young people with stories from childhood, academic experiences and career choices that have guided his path.
He would also be sharing his thoughts on the theme for this year’s event, “Digitalization-The Enabler, The Game Changer, and The future for the Agri-Youth,” as it relates to investing in sustainable agriculture, and government’s policies and programs in place for young Ghanaians who are interested in the agric sector, and those already working along the value chain.
In a press statement, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong, said the mentoring session with the Vice President is expected to boost the confidence of the young agripreneurs, in relation to their chosen career path, and also hear directly from the presidency, the digitization plans and projects in place for the country’s agricultural sector.
In anticipation, some of the agri-students and beginner agribusinesses have been sharing their experiences at the previous editions of the Bootcamp with AGRIWATCHGH:
James Elikem Brown, a past student of English Amanfrom SHS who was part of the Bootcamp last year, is currently cultivating a successful pineapple farm. James went into value addition after the Bootcamp, and has now registered his fruit juice company with the Food and Drugs Authority. Together with some University Graduates, he is working on a project aimed at encouraging more young people to venture into the agricultural sector.
Dauda Mustapha a student of the All-Nations University who was a part of the AGSTUD Bootcamp in 2020 was supported with input to start a water melon farm. Through the training and leadership skills acquired at the bootcamp he diversified by going into cowpea production as well. After harvesting when it was difficult to access market for his water melons (initial buyers pulled out before harvest at the peak of the COVID pandemic) the proceeds from the sale of cowpea enabled him to stay in business. He also had about 5 acres of land and planted yellow corn. The yellow corn did well and he was able to supply some poultry farmers in Northern Ghana when there was scarcity in 2021.
Obed Asamoah was part of the 2019 Cohorts. He was assisted with a seed capital of Gh500 to start his mushroom farm. Within two years Obed has scaled up his production and currently supplies to African Shops in the US and UK on order.
He also trains an average of 40 students each semester in Mushroom production. He also serves as a trainer at the Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training and Tradeshow. Obed, a natural-born leader got his skills harnessed at the Bootcamp. Through dint of hard work, he has earned a scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Asia.
The AGSTUD business club of the University of Ghana had a business idea for execution. However, the closure of schools due to the lockdown imposed during the height of the COVID -19 pandemic disrupted plans.
Stephen, a member of the team who stayed on campus went ahead to start a vegetable farm. He sold some of the harvested produce during the lockdown to fend for himself and to support himself in school when the lockdown was lifted.
Sulemana Suale from University for Development Studies noted that as far as Agribusiness is concern the training and experience received from the previous AG-STUD has impacted his life, as it is very informative and educative.
“The Bootcamp has helped to keep me in the right path in the agricultural sector and I believe this will go a long way to benefit the whole country. I will encourage other young people to take this as an opportunity and join next time,” Kwabena Amonoh said.
This year’s bootcamp will host about fifty (50) students from 18 agric collages and institutions in the country. They include, University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast, All Nations University, Ghana Christian University College, Methodist University, University for Development Studies, GH Media School, Fair River Agric Institute, and Labone Senior High School.
Others include, O’Reilly Senior High School, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Adidome Agric Institute, Asuansi Farm Institute, Damango Agric College, Ejura Agric College, Kwadaso Agric College, Wenchi Farm Institute, Ohawu Agric College, Veterinary College, Northern Youth Hub, Ashaiman Senior High School, and Ngleshi Amanfro Senior High School.
The 5 days Bootcamp would entail key activities include; Disciplinary drills and Mental exercise, Capacity-building sessions, competence –based training sessions, Corporate and Flied tour Business ideas and creative content development sessions.