Solidaridad staff in Ghana and their families march on Farmers' Day
Solidaridad marked Farmers' Day in Ghana with a Sustainability Walk to emphasize the urgent need to engage young people in agriculture. The walk saw scores of Solidaridad staff and their families parade some of Accra’s principal streets on 6 December, 2019.
In Ghana, agriculture contributes more than half of the country’s GDP. It also provides over 90 percent of the food needs of the country. But its sustainability is threatened by its ageing labour force. Over half of Ghanaian farmers are between 50 and 60 years old.
Changing perceptions of farming
Coupled with the disinterest of young people in farming, this makes the future of agriculture in Ghana uncertain. There is an urgent need to create an enabling environment that makes agriculture an attractive and profitable venture for Ghanaian youth.
For the past four years, Solidaridad has been at the forefront of changing the perception of young people towards agriculture with MASO programme, a Youth Forward initiative.
I now own a two-acre cocoa farm and a mobile money transaction business, and I'm seeing my son through school" - Joyce Pomaa (26), Kasapin, western Ghana
Over 11,000 young people reached
The MASO programme has trained and mentored over 11,000 rural youths to become professional cocoa farmers and agriculture service providers in their communities.
Through MASO’s Agro and Business Academies, Solidaridad has provided training in the following areas plus financial support:
- good farming practices
- life skills
- financial literacy
- agricultural inputs
- digital technology
Another image from the march: making the case for youth participation in agriculture
“I now own a two-acre cocoa farm and a mobile money transaction business with support from the MASO programme,'' says Joyce Pomaa, a 26-year-old single mother in Kasapin, western Ghana.
“Before MASO, I was dependent on my mother for my child’s upkeep. But now I make 350 cedis per month [approximately 63 US dollars, ed] and I am seeing my son through school.”
Proving the business case
“We are demonstrating that the youth can indeed make a living from agriculture,” says Isaac Gyamfi, the regional director for Solidaridad West Africa. “Our interventions have proven the business case for agriculture. This should attract more youth and investors to respond to the needs of the sector.”
Solidaridad is demonstrating that the youth can make a living from agriculture” - Isaac Gyamfi, regional director for Solidaridad West Africa
This youth-focused support is made possible with funding from the Mastercard Foundation, and in partnership with Ashesi University, Fidelity Bank, the Ghana Cocoa Board, and NGOs Aflatoun and Opportunity International.