Ghana Country Manager for CDF Canada, Madam Christiana K. Yakubu, has noted that, the perception that agriculture is not profitable is keeping many young people from the sector.
She said, currently in the northern parts of the country, most young people have abandoned the sector, and in search of non-existing white-collar jobs.
“In Tamale, farmlands are being taken over for buildings and other non-agricultural purposes,” she bemoaned.
Madam Yakubu was speaking on Monday, April 19, on the first day of the 4th Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance Mentorship Dialogue and Bootcamp (AG-STUD-AFRICA), annually organized by Agrihouse Foundation, to bring together agricultural students, beginner agribusinesses and start-ups to appreciate the pivotal role they are expected to play, in building resilience and preparedness towards sustaining the food security of the nation through creative and innovative agriculture.
This year, the Bootcamp is on the theme, “We have Enabled and Established the Agri-youth! Time to Scale-Up them-Up to Feed Ghana.”
The way to go now, she has noted, is to intensify youth in agric projects and interventions, like Agrihouse Foundation is doing with the Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance Mentorship Dialogue and Bootcamp (AG-STUD-AFRICA).
In light of this, she stressed, CDF Canada is also championing the, ‘4r Championship Program,’ which is highlighting a science-based fertilizer management program, using the 4r principles.
According to the Country Director, the 4r principles will ensure farmers derive maximum benefits and yields from the fertilizers they apply to their crops, noting the 4r principles are: Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place.
She said much of the five-and-a-half-year program is targeting the youth; to give those who participate and win a grant of about 1000 Canadian dollars, that can enable them apply the 4r principles as part of their farming activities.
“We believe ones they are able to apply these principles, together with all the climate smart strategies, when they do their cost benefit analysis, they will see the need to go into production,” she said.
About the 4r Solution in Ghana
The 4R Solution Project will contribute to improved farm profitability of 30,000 smallholder farmers and their families, including 15,115 women and 14,885 men, in four districts in the Northern region/Eastern corridor of Ghana. This region is known as the rural Savannah zone and most of the population are farmers. The project is working with local partners SEND Ghana and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI). SEND Ghana is playing the key role of mobilizing smallholder farmers into co-operatives and linking them to value chains. They are also responsible to mainstream gender component throughout the project. SARI is providing technical directions on 4R principles, setting up demonstration plots, training of extension agents etc. with guidance from African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI).
Through the project, smallholder farmers will work with co-operatives to grow more nutritious and marketable crops. The project is working with 130 co-operatives across 130 communities in implementation districts. The project also expects to reach 30,454 indirect beneficiaries including neighbouring farmers who share a boundary with direct beneficiary communities.