A young commercial farmer, Mahamud Mohammed Awal has called on the government to motivate the youth to invest in agriculture with incentives that will attract them to sustain their farms.
According to Mr Mohammed Awal, who is also the CEO of M.M. Awal Enterprise Limited agriculture is a very lucrative venture of which the government needs to encourage the youth to embrace in order to be gainfully employed and contribute to national food self-sufficiency and also earn foreign exchange after export.
Speaking to the media recently in Tamale of the Northern Region, the CEO of the M.M. Awal Enterprise Limited emphasized the importance of agriculture to employment generation.
“The youth should understand that agriculture is a very serious lucrative business and they should embrace it so that they can be self-employed and employ other people”.
“Though agriculture is difficult and risky, almost everything in life is also risky. Even eating of food is risky. So the youth must not be discouraged from engaging in agriculture,” he stated.
According to Mr. Mohammed Awal with the support of the government, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the media and other stakeholders, the youth will be incentivized to cherish agriculture since farming is a noble occupation.
“I travel to many countries, and when you go to the United States, Thailand, China and the UK, farmers are highly respected. Food is very crucial to life, and during the Corona virus lockdown, agriculture played a key role, not the number of cars that you have,” he said.
Mr Awal lamented that the high interest rates banks charge discourages the youth to venture into agriculture since farmers bear 70% of the risk, while the banks take the remaining 30% adding that despite the establishment of the Ghana Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, many farmers do not get access to credit.
He therefore appealed to the government to put in place innovative policies that will make credit readily available to farmers, especially the youth for them to venture into the sector.
Commenting on whether or not prospective farmers especially the youth require huge sums of investment before engaging in farming, Mr. Mohammed Awal advised the youth to start the farming business with small amount of money.
He lauded the government for establishing the national youth entrepreneurial programme but quickly added that implementation of agricultural progammes of the initiative has been fraught with difficulties and its maintenance.”
Commenting on factors that will enhance productivity, Mr. Mohammed Awal stressed that farmers need sensitization and training to be more productive, whilst imploring the government and the media to support the sector proactively.
He also indicated that the youth require focus and good time management to succeed in agricultural entrepreneurship..
Meanwhile the CEO of MM-Awal Enterprise Limited has produced half a million tonnes of cassava, and has acquired 2,500 hectares of land for cultivation.
The nuclear farms of M.M. Awal Enterprise Limited employ 120 permanent and 250 casual workers. About 4, 070 smallholder farmers from the Northern, North East, Savanna, Upper East and Upper West regions have benefited from Mr Awal’s farming activities.
Story: Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina