A former Minister for Trade and Industries Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah has advised the youth to venture into the Agribusiness sector as the job market has become highly competitive.
According to him, Agribusiness has the potential to drastically reduce unemployment, thus, the sector must be a priority area for the over 100,000 graduates that are churned out by the country’s tertiary intuitions every year.
Dr Spio- Garbra pointed out that “working for somebody is a salary job because you get a fixed amount every month no matter how hard you work. But when you work for yourself and if you are a hard working person, you will see the benefits of your own efforts.”
Dr Spio- Garbra made these remarks at the Annual forum Government, Industry and Academia, organized by the African Business Centre for Developing Education in collaboration with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) and supported by BUSAC Fund.
The Forum was held on the theme: Commercialization of scientific research; Promoting Youth employment in Agribusiness
ABCDE is a Ghanaian based Pan-African Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), committed to mentorship, provision of scholarships, and skills development of secondary and tertiary students and also helps to provide them with internship and job recruitment programmes.
Continuing, Dr Spio -Garbrah who is the Chairman of ABDCE said, “statistics are that the 80 or so Universities and tertiary institutions in Ghana are churning out more than a 100,000 graduates every year, and if it’s true that only about 10 or so percent of that can get a salary office based job then it means that a good 80 to 90 percent are going to be either unemployed or either go into the Nations Builders Corps or must create their own jobs.”
He noted that whiles the government may be helping them with Nations Builders corps, “we in the ABCDE and the stakeholders supporting us are trying to encourage those youth that want to be entrepreneurial and would like to start their own businesses to consider all kinds of range of activities in the agribusiness and agro industrial sector that they could enter into and which they can sometimes begin with as little as a 1000 or 5000 Cedis.”
Sharing his experience as an agribusiness magnate, Dr Spio Garbrah told the press “I’ve been involved in oil palm and in cashews, mangoes and pineapples, poultry for all that period and so I’m not preaching something am not practicing and am proposing that young people who may say they are unemployed rather than join the association of unemployed graduates can take advantage of numerous schemes that are in the public domain, the rural enterprises program, the national board for small scale industries, the national builders score that has been created that’s for salary people but for those who want to be entrepreneurial, they should start their own businesses and employ other people.
He urged Ghanaians to take advantage of the nation’s natural endowment and ensure that opprtuninites get to the next generation
In a speech read for him, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto stated that Agriculture has remained a central driver of Ghana’s economy despite structural modifications that have occurred over the years.
According to him for a sector that employs 35.95% of the active labour force and a major source of revenue for the government, a substantial growth is likely to have a huge impact on the economy. In 2015, Ghana’s total revenue from non-traditional exports alone amounted to US$2.522 billion (GHs 9.210 billion).
He said the importance of agribusiness has been increasingly recognized over recent years, with different organizations providing support to agribusiness, usually through programmes and projects.
“Agribusiness has undergone a shift from the traditional family farm model to strategically placed commercial production and processing units linked to exports and modern retailers.
“We need research to provide a one stop shop for the promotion of agribusiness. The private sector must support in engaging the youth as their commercial business partners to develop youth businesses. The youth need to take advantage of the various programs and create sustainable and viable agribusiness for themselves,” he advised.
By Mohammed Suleman