Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to embrace technology and digitalisation in order to take advantage of the changing dynamics of the industry.
Dr Bawumia is especially excited by the possibilities available to leverage big data and the Internet of Things to bring some certainty into a venture largely dependent on the weather in Africa.
“The future of agriculture is no more about cutlasses and hoes. The emerging technologies in Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, internet of things… are now the way to go to make agriculture smart in conformity to the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is one of the ways to make agriculture attractive to this new generation.”
The Vice President made the call on Tuesday at the commissioning of the Siriboe Institute of Agribusiness and Skills Development, located at Juaben in the Ashanti Region.
The brainchild of Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, Akyempimhene of Juaben Traditional Area and reigning National Best Farmer, the Institute aims to train and equip students with adequate theoretical and technical skills in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship and to empower them to establish and operate their enterprises effectively.
The 700-seater capacity facility, with spaces for formal lectures, demonstrations and workshops, a crèche for young mothers to enable them to gain knowledge without sacrificing their maternal obligations, a cafeteria and a practical demonstration farm is located in the 400-acre Siriboe Farms complex.
The Institute was established with his prize money (GHC1m) for winning the 2022 Best Farmer Award, resources from his farm (Siriboe Farms) and his savings, according to Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I, who is the third-youngest person to win the National Best Farmer Award.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to providing skills training, especially to the youth, Dr Bawumia praised the Founder of the Institute for recognising the importance of skills development, practical training and hands-on experience for the youth.
“Today, this centre is being opened to offer opportunities for young people who have the desire to engage in smart agriculture and the needed skills set for the future of work.
“I am particularly delighted with the partnership of this centre with other academic institutions of higher learning and the High Schools. It provides proof that the Siriboe Institute of Agribusiness and Skills Development is youth-focused.
“Within the last seven years, the NPP government has put a lot of measures in place to build the Start-up and Entrepreneurship Innovation Ecosystem in Ghana. Currently, Ghana ranks 99th on the Global Innovation Index and among the top 5 robust start-up ecosystems in Africa.
“The government has provided support for the youth through Start-ups and MSMEs such as the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), the Youth Employment Agency, the National Youth Authority and other ministries, departments and agencies.
“The government also has supported 45 Innovation Hubs across the country through NEIP with about US$ 7 million, with this centre we are launching today being part of the beneficiaries of the new NEIP Hubs Grant Programme,” he disclosed.
Dr Bawumia challenged the leadership of the Institute to make it a “centre of excellence for agriculture innovation and skills development”, and pledged the government’s support to achieve this goal.
“I congratulate once again the Akyempimhene of the Juaben Traditional Area, Oheneba Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe I for this initiative to invest and mentor the young people of Ghana. I wish you continued excellence in the years to come.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD