In today’s Ghana, entrepreneurship has become a sought after quality that most young graduates must wield in order to secure a decent earning.
The deficit of employment as against thousands of graduates churned out by tertiary institutions in the country, unfortunately leaves behind a number of jobless Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree holders. But, against this turmoil, agribusiness, the backbone of the economy with its numerous prospects and lucrative avenues stands the capacity to become an absorbent of unemployed graduates in Ghana.
Currently, the potentials of the agriculture sector is highly underutilized. From our cash crops, to grains, fruits and vegetables, livestock and others, there are countless skills and expertise needed along the value chain.
The contribution of each player is vital to the productivity of the sector. However, there are not adequate players along our value chain and this can be partly blamed for our low rate of performance in the year 2015.
According to a report, put together by the Ghana Survey Department and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana has 14,038,224 square kilometers of agriculture land out of a total land area of 23,844,245 square kilometers.
However, 7,847,300 square meters, of this agriculture land is being cultivated, constituting 55.90%. This leaves 44.10%, which is approximately 6,190,924 square meters of potential agriculture land untapped.
With the acquisition of land being a major factor in agriculture, this means half the challenge of an agribusiness startup has been solved. This is just to express the very fact that agriculture in Ghana abounds in lucrative potentials and prospects.
Also, in the world over, agriculture has evolved into what is now known as agribusiness, and is centered on making profits through maximized productivity. This is in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of reducing poverty by ensuring food security through the prevention of food shortage.
So then, if we have untapped potentials and a population of unemployed graduates, what better opportunity would there be than to inspire in them the desire to be “agri-preneurs”. This is what the Agrisolve Agribusiness Proposal Competition, sought to achieve during the just ended University of Ghana’s International Association of Agriculture Students (IAAS) annual Green Week celebration.
There has been a lot of talk about why a graduate should bow down his or her head in shame for being tagged, “unemployed”. This is because many believe to qualify as a graduate, you must have been brought to a level of maturity and responsibility through an effective educational system.
This fact however, in our part of the world is half baked by virtue of the fact that, it is rather rare to see support being given wholly to business ideas being initiated by unemployed graduates. This is what has rendered most graduates redundant and at the dependence of non-existing jobs.
It therefore comes as great news when some corporate organisations like Agrisolve, commit their resources to supporting business ideas by undergraduates. If this trend is allowed to grow, there will definitely be the ripple effect of undergraduates and graduates becoming job providers instead of seekers.
The news however gets better when the business ideas are focused on agriculture, the backbone of our economy. In an age where Ghana is producing far less than it needs for consumption and the agro export rate keeps diminishing, an agribusiness proposal competition for the youth, is security of food for the future.
Agrisolve Ghana, an agric based organization, has proved its commitment to youth entrepreneurship in the area of agriculture by awarding the winner of the agribusiness proposal competition a whopping GH¢10,000.00 price package. This would see to it that Sylvester Williams, a level 300 Agriculture Science student, of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, acquire the needed resources to start off his business.
Using Sylvester as a case study, if he is able to efficiently apply these funds to his business initiative, he would not be needing a job when he graduates from the university. If his prospects are looking good, the young chap should count himself amongst employers, answering a number of job seeking calls from his colleagues. In essence, just by virtue of the fact that Agrisolve Ghana believes unemployed graduates can make a decent earning in the many prospects of the agriculture sector, the rate of unemployment stands at reducing as a ripple effect.
Imperative it would be if corporate bodies and individuals join Agrisolve Ghana’s bandwagon; promoting agri-preneurship amongst the youth in Ghana. Then we would be killing two beds with one stone; reducing unemployment whilst maximizing the agriculture potentials in Ghana.