Ghana to host Pan African Agri-Business conference
The event, organized by the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), an NGO in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), African Union, the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), would be held at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The conference, “ Turning science into business: Inclusive agribusiness incubation for vibrant economies”, would showcase opportunities for youth in agribusiness incubation, different public and private sector actors supporting enterprising start-ups, and SMEs engaged in value chain transformation.
Others include financing agencies supporting the establishment of agribusiness ventures, agencies supporting trade and investment and banks providing financing and de-risking the sector.
Mr Alex Ariho, Chief Executive officer of AAIN, said agribusiness incubation provides more opportunity for job and wealth creation for the youth, women and men in Africa compared to any other sector globally.
He said investing in agribusiness incubation is no longer optional in Africa “if we are to address the current challenge of unemployment and transform our economies through agriculture.
“It is against this backdrop that AAIN is committed to support [workers in the sector] in 54 African countries and Ghana is one of our priority investment countries as demonstrated by the two incubators already established in Ghana in partnership with Danida, government of Ghana, FARA and AGRA,” he said.
Mr Ariho said agribusiness incubation turns science into business, creating new enterprises, jobs and wealth, adding, using agribusiness incubation youth start-up have been nurtured to create new ventures that flourish with a success rate of above 85 per cent.
The World Bank and AfDB estimate that agribusiness and the agriculture sector would grow to a one trillion dollar industry by 2030, he said.
Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister in charge of Crops, MOFA, said Government’s interest in youth motivation in agriculture sector and Youth In Agriculture programme attested to the their commitment to assist the youth to own the project.
We deemed it right to collaborate with our partners in the sub region who share similar dreams,” he added.
The Minister said government’s focus was not just on youth employment but wants the youth to become employers at the sector and they are doing everything possible to attract the youth to the sector.
Mr Dan Acquaye, Executive Director, Agri-impact Consult, said Africa has the youngest population in the world saying there is the need to find work for them.
He said the young people continue to be their primary focus in their efforts to create more jobs in the area to boost the country’s economy and called on all partners to bring their ideas and innovations on board to achieve the goal.
Ms Angela Dannson, Director, Projects Coordination Unit of MOFA, said there are whole lots of value chain at the sector that the youth could engage in without tilling the land and urged them to consult the Ministry for the necessary advice and support.
She said the Ministry is dialoguing with the Youth Employment Agency to introduce new models in form of internships for agribusinesses so that the interns would be trained to develop their own businesses after the internship.
Ms Nana Adjoa Sifa, Chief Executive Officer of Kuzakuza, an incubator called for friendly policies to encourage young people to go into agribusiness.
She said government could give allocation to the youth to produce food for the prisons and schools in the country to entice them to the sector.
Nana Adjoa Sifa said at Kuzakuza they are giving women the necessary support to sustain their interest in agribusiness.
AAIN is an initiative supported by FARA under the Universities, Businesses and Research on Agribusiness Innovation programme with the core mandate of strengthening agribusiness incubation capacity as well as commercialising agricultural technologies and innovation in Africa.
It was formed in 2014 and has registered members drawn from the African continent and beyond.