27.03.2012

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Despite the efforts being made by African leaders and Agricultural organisations to make farming more attractive to young people, some participants of the young people farming and food conference – from 19 – 21 March, in Accra/Ghana expressed their frustration at the inability to access credit. They have passionately appealed to their governments to make credit more accessible.

At the three – day international conference on the future of the agri-food sector in Africa, held in March 2012, in Accra Ghana, the young farmers lamented that they have limited chances to obtain capital or credit assets. They noted that access to credit in rural financial institutions is more often than not tied to the availability of collateral such as a vehicle, land or a house; that young people like themselves do not yet have.

Frank Amponsah, a Ghanaian young farmer who attended the conference noted that even though he has on countless occasions heard Government of Ghana officials talking about the efforts they are doing to help young people in farming, on the ground nothing seems to have changed. A visit to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to inquire about how to access funds is still an impossible and frustrating venture. 

He is of the opinion that a separate office within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture ought to be created to handle the issue of credit to young farmers, adding that the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) which was purposely setup to help farmers does not have flexible credit loans for young farmers. “Those are the things we want the government to do for us because once I get the land I need to cultivate on it, transport my products and all of these activities require money” he stated.

He suggested that the idea of allowing junior and senior high schools to cultivate school farms is slowly dying. Therefore the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture must work hand in hand to raise more awareness and increase the enthusiasm if at all they wish to make farming attractive to young people.  

George Okonko, a young farmer from Nigeria shared similar frustrations as his colleagues in farming and supported sentiments echoed by the President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr.

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