Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative to Ghana has said investment in agriculture is among the most effective ways to reduce poverty and food insecurity and achieve other Sustainable Development Goals.
He said for investment to be inclusive, it meant it must involve those who needed it most.
Dr Abebe was speaking at the launch of an online forum for the involvement of women and youth in responsible investment in agriculture and food systems.
The online forum aim at catalysing the involvement of women and youth in responsible investment and will be hosted and facilitated by FAO but the agenda setting will largely depend on forum members.
The launch of the online forum is a follow-up activity to two previous workshops on “Responsible agricultural investment” which took place in Accra.
He said the participants of the workshop, proposed and agreed on an action plan to enhance and encourage women and youth in agricultural investment.
The FAO Representative said one of the proposals was the creation of a platform that would allow for inclusive dialogue on the subject matter of “Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems” and how youth and women could play key roles to enhance their lot.
He said members were to use the forum to exchange information and co-generate knowledge on how best to enable women and youth to contribute to and benefit from investments in agriculture.
“The online forum may also be used to coordinate mutual and related activities such as policy advocacy, capacity development needs and market opportunities for involvement of women and youth in agricultural investment as well as other proposed recommendations highlighted in the action plan derived from the two previous workshops held,” he added.
He said Ghana has made significant achievements in terms of rural development and managed to fulfil the millennium goals of halving hunger and extreme poverty, indicating that this would not have been possible without deliberate efforts to spur inclusive agricultural growth.
Dr Abebe said as Ghana looked forward to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal one and two the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty and associated goals, the agricultural sector continued to deserve the continuous attention of stakeholder.
He said FAO was working with government and development partners to establish a strong enabling environment, where young women and men benefitted from the generation of decent rural employment and entrepreneurial opportunities through a range of interventions.
The intervention were developing models on public-private partnerships for youth engagement and cooperating with governments in the design and implementation of national strategies that integrate the youth.
“FAO is supporting the Government of Ghana’s effort through different project interventions intended to promote investment in agriculture and to ensure that women, youth, and other vulnerable groups get access to finance, land, inputs and other factors of production,” he said.
Mr Jesper Karisson, a staff of FAO told the GNA that, there were a range of activities on the platform for women and youth including gender issues and ways to enable them benefit and be involved in agriculture investments.
He said it was also to co-generate ideas, share knowledge and meet to work on opportunities available together to solve some of the challenges in the sector.
He said it was one way to reach the youth, who were now involved in technology on social media and other platform could join the online and contribute to the discussions.
Ms Esther Kasalu-Coffin, Country Director, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said they had been working in the rural area over the years and have given the rural poor a voice.
She said IFAD’s investments were targeted on pro-poor areas and investing in women and the youth had been the focus.
The Country Director said in Ghana, they have invested in a number of projects but currently, they were investing in two major projects.
The projects were the Ghana Agriculture Sector Programme, supporting the value-chain development and the Rural Enterprises Programme, which was at the third phase.
Mr Emmanuel Andrews known as Samini in showbiz and Mr Enoch Nana Yaw Oduro-Adjei also known as Trigmatic, themselves farmers advised the youth to venture in agriculture.
They challenged the youth to commit themselves to the sector and add value to their lives.