$500,000 seed production project launched
An Entrepreneurship Incubation Training Programme to help address the gap in seed production in the country was on Monday launched at the University of Ghana (UG) in Accra.
The $500,000 programme to be implemented in 5-years is expected to train 20 trainees annually with the first batch comprising 10 females and 10 males from the Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics, Crop Science, Seed Science and Technology programmes.
They are expected to undertake a six-week training period during which they will be introduced to the principles and concepts underlying the entrepreneurship process.
The programme is an initiative of the Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agricultural Innovation (KAEHAI) in partnership with the KGL Foundation Entrepreneurship Training and Incubator Programme, under its Agriculture Entrepreneurship Ecosystem chain.
The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) of the UG is implementing the project.
The Programme Manager of KAEHAI, Ms Karen Agyeman, speaking at the ceremony said the trainees after the initial six-weeks would go through a 10-month incubation period during which they would develop their business ideas into viable, functional seed businesses.
She said they would also receive mentorship and tailored guidance from facilitators and other resource persons as each team would receive US$10,000, courtesy of the KGL Foundation, to help them set up their seed businesses.
Ms Agyeman indicated that the trainees would pitch their business ideas with potential investors to secure additional funding by bringing together like-minded individuals from both the private and public sector to provide training and support to students, mentor them to become successful agro-entrepreneurs to drive innovation, and new product development for agricultural transformation in Ghana.
She expressed optimism that by the end of the project, a minimum of 20 successful seed businesses would be established, leading to more employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth and innovation in the agricultural industry
The Programme Manager commended the KGL Foundation for partnering with KAEHAI to spur other organisations, particularly in the private sector to create partnerships for the necessary resources to transform agriculture in Ghana and brighten the future for the youth.
The Chief Executive of the KGL Foundation, Kofi Dadee, expressed his outfit’s commitment to addressing the phenomenon of youth unemployment by strengthening partnership with WACCI.
The foundation, he said believed in empowering communities to change lives as highlighted in one of its thematic areas by mentoring and supporting brilliant students, to become entrepreneurs with relevant, and appropriate ideas to drive innovation for new product development for agricultural transformation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Pius Enam Hadzide, said the new cohorts of the youth should be encouraged to venture into entrepreneurship ventures to address the high unemployment issue confronting the country.
He urged the private sector and corporate organisations channel at least 10 per cent of their Corporate Social Responsibility cash into agricultural research for the production of viable seed to improve agricultural production in the country.
The Founder and Director of WACCI, Professor Eric Danquah, expressed concern about the lack of funds to upscale research activities, saying that they could not get water to sprinkling the over 64 hector of plants under production.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFAAKPALU