In line with this, he has revealed that a number of ongoing digitization processes in the country, are currently working to de-risk the agricultural sector of all perceived and real risks, which usually scare financial and corporate organizations, as well as young people, from investing in the agric sector.
“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 said countries that invest in the production of data are most competitive in the emerging fourth industrial revolution, and “if you do not understand that, then your economy will lack behind. That is why the Akofo-Addo government is building a vibrant modern nation, characterized by strong systems and institutions that work,” he stressed.
He added, “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 out on this.”
Dr. Bawumia made these comments at the Opening Event of this year’s 5th Agricultural Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD-AFRICA) Bootcamp, organized by Agrihouse Foundation, on the theme, “Digitalization – The Enabler, The Game Changer, and the Future for the Agri-Youth.”
At the humble request of Agrihouse Foundation, the Vice President, accepted to host the official opening event of this year’s Bootcamp at the Jubiliee House, and further participate in a mentoring sessions, ‘The Agri-Ted Talk,’ which saw him enlighten participating students and beginner agribusinesses, about global digital trends, and how they influence Ghana’s economy. His mentoring session further touched on the need for sustainable agriculture, and government’s policies and programs in place for young Ghanaians who are into, or interested in the agric sector.
He therefore praised Agrihouse Foundation for the theme of the 5- day event, and used the opportunity to encourage 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.
He also charged the young agripreneurs to rise above their fears of taking risk, as government shall continue to address the major factors that fight against the Ghanaian farmer’s desire to expand and compete on the global scene, namely accurate data, easy access to credit, proper identification, location, and financial inclusion.
“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.
The Mentoring session also included notable personalities like the Member of Parliament for the Korle-Klottey Constituency, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings; 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.
For her part, the Member of Parliament and Patron of AG-STUD-Africa, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings has urged the Campers to work together and in doing so, learn to support one another.
She said the agricultural value chain is filled with many examples of synergy, and everyone who understands agriculture appreciates the power and role of collaborations. “If you understand what it takes to make your group work, you can minimize conflicts and and allow the progress of your team,” she said.
She also urged the seventy (70) agri-students and beginner agribusinesses to understanding their strengths and weaknesses; as this would enable them build the right teams to support their growth and development. “Knowing where your weaknesses are,” she stressed, “and finding the right people who can support you, because no one is able to do everything on their own. Do not be afraid to have people around you who are know more than you do. You are better off when you have people who have more expertise around you.”
For his part, The Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah express his excitement on the success of the Ag-Stud initiative. He said developing countries need to support the growth and development of their agricultural sector, which in many cases is the backbone of their national economy. He said ADB would continue giving the needed support to everyone in the agribusiness sector to start something for the future.
The Country Director of OCP Africa in Ghana, Mr. Samuel Oduro-Asare, charged the participants to always have the ‘I can do spirit’ in starting at beginning with little resources available to them so they will be able to stay relevant in whatever they are doing. We at OCP Africa are always ready support AG-STUD and we are still committed to supporting you more this year, Mr. Oduro assured the participants.
The Chairman of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG), Mr. Davies Korboe, for his part, praised the Vice –President for hosting the Opening Event of the AG-STUD Bootcamp. “We are making history today. This the first time a sitting Vice-President is hosting our future agribusiness captains. This is important because if you look at the aged to youth bracket in agriculture, if nothing is done about it in the next three years, you won’t find anybody in the sector. We at NFAWAG support Agrihouse. And I congratulate the youth for taking up agriculture, because it takes passion and discipline to become a successful agripreneur.”
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.
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.