Africa has more than 60 per cent of the world’s fertile but uncultivated land and the continent imports $35 billion to $50 billion of food per year, reports the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa. This narrative presents a bitter-sweet picture because while the continent’s potential is too obvious to sidestep, the youth have struggled to fully appreciate the immense opportunities inherent in agriculture.
According to a recent report by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) in 2017, the agenda to attract educated young people into farming (agriculture) “has to focus on the challenges that discourage them from farming (agriculture).”
This calls for practical effort that deliberately engages the youth as the focal point of a reawakening designed to ignite, nurture and point agric-students to the limitless window of opportunities presented by agriculture.
AG-STUD Africa (Agric students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp), represents the best example yet of how to effectively prepare the youth to identify and take advantage of exciting career opportunities that will put them on the path to prosperity.
AG-STUD Africa 2019 is a-three-day student capacity building boot-camp scheduled for Thursday, February 21 – Saturday, February 23, and intended to specifically target students of agricultural science and beginner agribusinesses. The maiden edition of the programme came off in 2018, in Accra with an impressive turnout and a generally positive outcome. Ghanaian and foreign Agric-institutions numbering 320, took part in the first edition held in Accra.
Agrihouse Foundation, the organisers of the event is an ardent proponent of Ghanaian agriculture and its ability to cause far-reaching societal advancement. That is why for the second time in as many years, the firm has again partnered with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Intervelle and the J.A Kuffour Foundation to roll-out what promises to be a bigger, better and more impactful AG-STUD Africa 2019.
This year’s event has been packaged to consolidate the significant gains made during the maiden edition.
“Last year was great. The feedback was overwhelming and so we are poised to deliver our best effort yet.
We have critically reviewed the programme modules to include practical sessions that we believe will go a long way to ensure that we groom the next generation of agro professionals who will rely on a cocktail of zest, tact and expertise to ensure that Ghana and in extension, Africa realises the huge potential in her agriculture sector.” she avowed.
This year, participants are expected to be taken through a sequence of carefully thought-out program-modules that will reinforce their interest and love for the agricultural discipline and consequently pave a clear path for rewarding future careers in the industry.
Billed under the theme, “Growing Futures- Enabling the Agri-Youth”, this year’s edition of the programme has been designed to unfold under the following program-modules:
Unlike other career paths, an attempt at pitching tent in the agriculture industry could be a lonely one. This is because for many, agriculture doesn’t have the allure that is associated with other supposed prestigious careers.
This situation has been identified by organisers as a snag that smothers the dreams of many agric-students before their dreams have a realistic chance of seeing the light of day. This apparent disincentive has led the organizers to include a programme-module that is designed to provide students with an opportunity to interact with seasoned industry personalities who will act as mentors by sharing relevant experiences that will also give students the opportunity to ask and receive illumination on niggling questions about career dynamics in the agriculture industry.
Business Plan Development Challenge
A practical training session designed to teach students the rudiments of investor friendly business plan development has also been included to ensure that participants are adequately equipped to take advantage of funding opportunities.
The competitive nature of this module will hope to encourage innovative thinking among the participants. Students who excel will be awarded to serve as an incentive.
Agri-career Educational tour
To help participants gain practical insight into the operational intricacies of renowned industry-firms, this year’s edition of the program has been structured to include an exciting trip that will see participant’s tour the operational facilities of some firms within the agriculture value chain to give them first hand feel of what goes on in these establishments. This is expected to expose students to first-hand information on what it takes to work in such establishments and their role in the development of the industry.
The firms earmarked for the field tour this year are Golden exotics, Living Field, Yara Terminal, RST, Dream Arce Farms and Interplast.
Career opportunities and motivational discussions
To stir up the interest of the participants, the programme outline has a segment that will see industry stalwarts and other prominent personalities take turns to discuss and make presentations on how to identify and seize career opportunities in the agric sector.
Rousing sessions detailing the inspiring tales of successful start-ups will be highlighted to encourage and deepen the interest of the participants in agriculture and point them to the endless opportunities available in the industry.
Initiatives and Invention Exhibition
Students participating in Ag-stud 2019 will be given the opportunity to exhibit their innovations and inventions. An exhibition to showcase participant’s innovative ideas will be featured throughout the duration of the event to encourage students to display innovative ideas that hitherto will lie unexplored.
Students who excel in this programme module will receive incentives that will further embolden them to move their inventions several notches higher, with hope that it becomes useful to the local industry in the near-future.
To emphasize the importance of discipline, team cohesion and physical fitness, this edition of the programme has been structured to feature military-styled drills that will engage participating students. Arrangements have been concluded to have military instructors who will work with the participants in a friendly atmosphere to ensure that exciting memories savoured by participants will endure a life time.
AG-STUD 2019 is a timely intervention that has come to stay. From an impactful maiden edition, the program has become a vital cog in national efforts aimed at encouraging the youth to make bold decisions to seek a career in the country’s budding agriculture sector. Providing a platform that seeks to comprehensively nurture agric-students through mentorship of seasoned personalities, is certain to go considerable lengths to increase youth participation in the industry and consequently develop agriculture.
About the Organizers
Foremost agro firm, Agrihouse Foundation is the brain behind AGSTUD. As part of its efforts to galvanize the youth to take center-stage in the country’s budding agriculture sector, the pro-agriculture firm has identified and prioritized the need to have a win-them-young- approach to agriculture education in the country and indeed, the African continent.
Agrihouse Foundation is a non-governmental agricultural social impact, interventional, project management and capacity building organization, with a special focus on the promotion of, and changing perception of agriculture through tactical programs and initiatives for students, women, farmers, farming associations, agribusinesses and the entire actors within the value chain.
The foundation’s initiatives focuses on empowerment, grooming, leadership, best practices, management training programs, etc. that leads to effecting positive change in the mind, field, economy and translate to the community.
AGSTUD Africa is here to turn the tide in favour of agriculture through a deliberate attempt to make the youth the primary force for propelling the industry. Through an all-inclusive youth agric participation, young agro professionals will be compelled to stay-on in agric-enterprises instead of continuing the uninspiring trajectory where brilliant and promising agric- students diverge into other areas of endeavour thought to be more prestigious.
AG-STUD 2019 will camp, train and mentor selected participants from about 25 institutions including KNUST, UDS, University of Ghana, University of Cape-coast, Kwadaso Agric College, Damongo Agric College, Fair River Institute, Animal Health, AsuanzI Farm Institute, Ejura Agric College, Adidome Agric College, KITA, selected Senior High School students, beginner agribusinesses and small agribusiness start-ups across the country. The event will be facilitated by individual experts from the agricultural sector, as well as other relevant sectors such as the military.
Some 320 participants selected from 20 institutions in Ghana attended the maiden edition with H.E former President J.J Rawlings in attendance.
The Agric Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD Africa 2019), is collectively sponsored by, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, JAK Foundation, Petrosol, Far East Mercantile, Interplast, OCP, LaBianca, RMG, Omnifert, Blue Skies, Intervelle, B-diet, Virgin Squeeze, Field Ready, Bel Beverages, Indomie, Bisdo Events and Agro Volta, B. Kaakyire Agro Chemical.
ALBERTA NANA AKYAA AKOSA
Lead Consultant and Founder – Agrihouse Communications and Agrihouse Foundation