Folks, it’s being a while since I came your way, I trust you are doing well. Many thanks for being one of the over a million loyal readers of my write-ups. I cherish you so much. Your comments and criticisms are making me a better writer; and I promise I won’t let you down. My article today must be of utmost interest to the youth of this country who are in need of jobs because it has the potential of changing their lives for good.
The problem of unemployment is nothing new and not only peculiar to Ghana.The world’s unemployment rate is 197.1 million, and it has been predicted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that global youth unemployment for 2016 will rise by 71 million.
In Ghana, according to the World Bank, 4.6% of our estimated population of 26 million are unemployed. This figure is roughly 1.2 million; interestingly, there are more than 3 million life-changing job opportunities in Ghana begging for attention.
And I want to confidently say that the agriculture sector is the solution to our unemployment problem! The good news is that 60% of the capital needed to go into farming is land, and we have fertile land in abundance. And to crown it all, technology has made farming more lucrative than ever.
For example, ordinarily, peasant farmers harvest between 6 and 8 maxi-bags of maize per acre. But with the advancement of technology, maize seed variety such as 30Y87 could yield an average of 40 Maxi-bags per acre. This variety is not only high-yielding but also resistant to drought and many diseases. The budget for cultivating 10 acres of maize is around GHC10,000 and this includes leasing of land. Based on the 30Y87 variety, one can harvest 400 maxi-bags in about three months, and with the current average price of a maxi-bag of maize at GHC220, a whopping amount of GHC88,000 can be realised! Isn’t this better than going after non-existent white-collar jobs? Or risking your lives in galamsey pits?
The best thing any leader can do in this regard is to encourage the youth to go into agriculture, and we must commend President Mahama for such initiatives. About a year ago, he marked his second anniversary as president by joining a 35-year old cocoa farmer, Mr. Samuel Torbi at Assin Sienchem in the Central Region to help him work on his cocoa farm, where they had lunch together on the farm. This did not end there; in his third anniversary in January this year he spent the whole day with rice farmers on their farms at Akuse, and enjoyed a meal of locally produced rice with them for lunch.
A few days ago, President Mahama affirmed his commitment to the agriculture sector during a dinner with some French investors at the Flagstaff House in Accra that his government is not going to over rely on Oil, Gas and Gold, but is going to diversify the economy by promoting agriculture and agro-industries.
In line with this, a lot of interventions have been put in place. COCOBOD as a means to entice the youth into cocoa production, for example, is supplying interested young people with free seedlings, fertilizers and other support services for them to start their own farms.
The free seedlings are the hybrid type which takes only 2 years to harvest. And one can harvest about 8 bags per acre per cocoa season for more than 30 years: and the recent increase of the producer price of cocoa to GHC425 per bag should be a huge incentive to anyone who wants to go into cocoa production. This is a life-changing opportunity; and this is what your dear friend, your beneficent president, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama is profering you. If you are reading this article and you are in a cocoa growing area, I challenge you to run to the nearest COCOBOD district office and take advantage of this great offer before it becomes too late. Tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a friend. No more complaints for jobs! No more “Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana”! Your destiny is in your hands. Make a life-changing choice now!
Anthony Obeng Afrane