Government urged to prioritize affordable loans for youth in agriculture value chain

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The Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah has appealed to government and financial institutions to make affordable loans available to young people who intend to start and operate income generating agriculture projects of modest sizes as a way of transforming livelihoods and the food system.

He said there is an urgent need to build a more sustainable food system hence the need to optimize agricultural land use and improve efficiency throughout the supply chain. To this end, he believes making affordable loans available to youth in agriculture will be enormous.

“We have to embrace sustainable farming practices such as conservation agriculture and diversification which include crop rotation. This can be achieved by cereal and legume rotation, planting cover crops, minimizing bush burning, minimum tillage, minimizing tree logging, applying integrated pest management, adopting agro-forestry practices and cultivation and utilization of local nutritious fortified foods”.

According to Mr. Sasu Yeboah, the state of agriculture should be a concern to everybody because the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the fuel that powers our lives are produced through agriculture. “It is also a fact that the future of agriculture is dependent on the next generation of innovators, communicators, producers, educators and leaders”, he said.

On his part, the Upper West Regional Director of the National Youth Authority, Amankona Ampofo, said “it is a duty and a collective responsibility to make agriculture attractive and prepare the industry as a lucrative venture attractive enough for the youth to venture into and build a business as means of livelihood, not only for themselves but for the growth, prosperity and ensuring food safety and security”. He added that, the youth need to be prepared to take over from the aging workforce.

Maria Johanna, an entrepreneur, used the opportunity to advise the youth to employ technology in food processing and marketing. She also urged that, “we must first accept, buy and consume our local produce as they are more nutritious.”

These calls were made at the SEM-B Lodge in Wa, the Upper West regional capital, during the International Youth Day celebration on August 13, 2021 organized by the National Youth Authority under the theme; Transforming Food System: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.