He said government, through the various policies, programs and initiatives, seeks to end the vicious cycle of rhetoric and under-development.
“Our government is pursuing an economic transformation agenda through digitalization,” he said, “The application of technological process, to change the ways and means by which we perform economic activities, and how individuals, businesses, interact with each other.”
The Vice President made these comments at the Opening Event of the 5th Agricultural Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD-AFRICA) Bootcamp, which took place at the Jubilee House on Monday, March 28, on the theme, “Digitalization – The Enabler, The Game Changer, and the Future for the Agri-Youth.”
He said Ghana and the rest of the world is now at the point of the ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ which is a revolution going to be based on data— in light of this, from the farms to the factory floors, and offices, Government is digitalizing how data is collected stored, and used to improve economic activities.
“Africa missed the agricultural revolution,” he said, “missed out on the industrial revolution; was left behind in the ICT revolution. Now we have the fourth industrial revolution, which is focusing on robotics, ICT and artificial intelligence etc. We don’t want to miss this,” he noted.
According to him, countries that invest in the production of data will be the most competitive countries in the fourth industrial revolution, and “if you do not understand that, then your economy will lack behind,” he stressed.
Therefore touching specifically on agriculture, he said Government sees digitalization as a way of de-risking the sector of the many perceived and real risks that exist.
“We have essentially focused on trying to build the Enablers to allow Ghana be competitive in the fourth industrial revolution,” he explained, “If you don’t have data, you cannot analyze, and you cannot take effective decisions; whether it’s on your farms, or in the office. You need data to decide when it is the best time to plant, harvest, put in fertilizer, how much water the plant needs, and to know the nature of the soil— all of this requires data.”
He therefore praised Agrihouse Foundation for the theme of the 5- day event, “Digitalization – The Enabler, The Game Changer, and the Future for the Agri-Youth,” and also encouraged the seventy (70) Camper to make the most of the Bootcamp, as well as government driven initiatives towards digitalization and building a sustainable entrepreneurial nation, particularly in the area of agriculture.
“You should always have the mindset of making sure that nobody discourages you from trying to do something that is new. Do not be afraid to fail. You are always not going to be successful at the things you try at first, but even in failure, you will learn something,” he encouraged the students.
For her part, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong charged government to make the studying of Agribusiness a compulsory subject at all levels of the educational system.
She said agribusiness needs to be more attraction, and more appealing for the youth, as it is a gateway to enjoying a good and healthy lifestyle, “we need agriculture to be more action-oriented, than talk-oriented,” she said.
According to her, in the past five (5) years, Agrihouse Foundation has been working to produce sustainable young farmers, and integral value chain actors through the AG-STUD Bootcamp, which essentially boosts and drive the youth to appreciate the opportunities within the agricultural sector.
The Bootcamp, further helps the students and beginner agribusinesses to chart career paths that go long way to invest in and secure the food security of the country.
“At Agrihouse Foundation, we believe the youth are the frontline in the movement to change the agricultural systems and food security equation in Ghana today. Since its inception, the AG-STUD Bootcamp has worked to bridge gabs in the agric sector, and helped our agric students and beginner agribusinesses to practically explore opportunities within the sector,” she said.
She revealed, AG-STUD, has in total produced over 12,ooo participants within the past four (4) years, adding that the number of participating schools have also increased from eight (8) to thirty (30) institutions.
“The next step for us is the burning passion to establish a practical, digitized Academy for training Ghana’s sustainable and technologically inclined Agribusinesses. To this end, we have acquired a 10-acre land at Bamvim, Tamale, in the Northern Region. We have secured the support of the Israeli Embassy, to develop the architectural layout,” she noted.
She used the opportunities to reiterate that need for private and public partnerships, which she said would help Agrihouse establish the Training Academy for Agribusinesses, as it is the vision.
She thanked the Vice-President for his the Opening Event of the 5th AG-STUD Bootcamp, and accepting the invitation to be mentor, alongside other notable personalities who also served as mentors. They included, Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank, Dr. John Kofi Mensah; and Patron of AG-STUD and Member of Parliament for the Korle-klottey Constituency, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings.
The rest are Country Manager of OCP Africa, Mr. Samuel Oduro-Asare; Chairman of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG); Mr. Davies Korboe; Director, Human Resource Development and Management Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture; Mr. Lawoety Tetteh, and the Chief Executive Officer of GIPC, Mr. Yofi Grant.
On behalf of the team at Agrihouse, she expressed gratitude to the sponsors of this year’s Bootcamp; Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), OCP, Broadspectrum, Nanam Ventures, Bdiet, Kofi Venyo and Demeter.
Collaborating Institutions are the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG); and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.