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Opinions Thu, 11 Feb 2021

High unemployment rate in Ghana: Do the lives of Agricultural College graduates matter?

The unemployment rate in Ghana has seen a rapid rise in the past years of which graduates from Agricultural institutions have been one of the hardest hits. Unemployment in Ghana has been a major challenge facing graduates. It is one stressful, frustrating and a very difficult moment in life to come out of school and not find a job to do. As a country, have we stopped to ask ourselves why Agricultural Graduates are neglected and denied jobs, loans, and incentives to start their own businesses? Does it mean there are no jobs available for the youths in Agriculture? Well, the reality is that there are actually numerous chances and countless opportunities for all but sadly, only a few can realise them. In this article, I will dive much more into the factors which lead to high unemployment rates in the agricultural sector among graduates and draw a concrete solution to this problem.

In 2019, a survey which was conducted in the various universities, Agricultural colleges and farm Institutes indicated that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had not responded well enough to integrate young people into the agric sector. Indeed, the belief is that much of the workforce is centred on indigenous farmers. Why should anyone who studies unrelated Agricultural course, living in the cities will have a good job in COCOBOD and a graduate like Kwaku 3b3fa who works with his family from infancy as a cocoa farmer, would be denied the opportunity to work under such a prestigious institution. Do they know much about farming that Kwaku does not know? Is it even logic for students who are enthused and well trained with requisite skills and knowledge in agriculture to hold brown envelop to seek for a job? It is shambolic to see graduates from farm Institutes and colleges cry for a job in the job market.

Meanwhile the ratio of Extension officers to farmers is nothing good to write home about.

In Ghana, it will interest you to know that the extension agent to farmer ratio is one to more than thousand farmers. How is it possible for Ghana to achieve better agricultural outputs? There is the need to bridge the gap for a large number of people to disseminate information to the last farmer. The world is changing, so, therefore, farmers need constant training on new method of farming. Young graduates require support in Start Ups. How can young people start a business without a start up capital?

Can we say the ministry has failed? Yes. Because nothing is working for graduates from Agricultural colleges and farm Institutes in Ghana. The Ministry needs to sit up and put in much efforts to address the challenges of these young people. To your knowledge, the number of five batches of graduates from Agricultural colleges is not up to the first batch of teacher training and nursing. Meanwhile, the Agricultural sector is the biggest in the country.

To address the issues of unemployment in agriculture sector, MoFA must have an all-inclusive strategic plan. Consider the vulnerable and especially graduates from Cocoa Growing Areas. Employ the youth! Give them good and better jobs to do. Build a formidable relationship with them. Acquire lands and Invest in their ideas. Give incentives to college of Agriculture and farm Institute. This is the way out to safeguard better future for youth in Agriculture.
Columnist: Ayensu Bernard
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