Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, the Member of Parliament for Korle Klottey, has urged young farmers and entrepreneurs in the agriculture value chain to keep to standards to ensure favourable competition in the local and international markets.
She said they could only compete and make profits in the business environment when they produced and delivered quality food products and services that meet the standards.
Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings
Dr Agyeman Rawlings was addressing participants at the Agricultural Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD Africa Bootcamp 2022).
The Bootcamp, organised by Agrihouse Foundation, trained students from 21 agricultural colleges and tertiary institutions across the country on entrepreneurial opportunities and careers in the agriculture value chain.
The five-day training offered the students the opportunity to develop business ideas and startups in agriculture, which they would pursue after the event.
She encouraged the students to pursue careers in farming because it was a rewarding and profitable venture.
Dr Agyeman Rawlings advised the students to form cooperatives based on their business ideas and to scale them up to the next level.
“When you come together and connect among yourselves you can do more and scale up your ideas. Your ideas are great and promising so keep it up,” she stressed.
Samuel Oduro-Asare, the Country Manager of OCP Africa, a fertilizer and soil management organisation, urged the students not to see agriculture as “just a cutlass and hoe farming” but as an employment avenue where they could contribute meaningfully to the value chain, especially in the processing of food products.
He said agriculture was a change maker for the economy and had a lot of opportunities and potential to be explored for socio-economic development.
Ms Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong, the Executive Director, Agrihouse Foundation, said Foundation, so far, more than 12,500 students had undergone training under the programme and 750 operating actively in the agribusiness value chain.
She said the programme trained students on the practicality of agriculture and the employment opportunities therein for them.
“Most of these students did not have much idea on the practicality of agriculture, so we sought to, through this programme, enlighten them on the sector and how they can go into it to create employment for themselves,” she said.
The students pitched business ideas ranging from crop farming to food processing. The Ohawu Agriculture College in the Volta Region emerged as the overall best in business pitch and presentation.
They presented on creating charcoal products from used and disposed coconut husks.
The most bankable and viable idea awards went to the Kwadaso Agriculture College, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Agriculture and Environmental Studies, Bunso, and Ohawu Agriculture College.