Accra, Sept. 27, GNA- As part of the Youth in Export Programme (YiEP), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has presented farm inputs to 20 trainees in Accra.
The 20 trainees were selected across the Eastern, Central and Volta regions and attached to experienced exporters (mentors) in the horticultural sector.
Mr Herbert Krapa, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, presenting the inputs, called on the trainees to use the opportunity as a stepping stone to develop themselves.
“Your main achievement is ahead of you, provided you will remain dedicated to the course and build internal resilience for the obstacles ahead,” he said.
The six-month pilot phase of the programme, implemented by GEPA in collaboration with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), is aimed at building the capacity of the youth interested in Agriculture to take farming as a serious enterprise.
It is also to ensure the beneficiaries were gainfully employed, create jobs for other youth and above all to become exporters in the future thereby contributing to the expected growth of the export sector in line with the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS).
The Minister urged the trainees not to take the opportunity they had for granted.
He said by this singular programme, the partners were helping to directly attract young people into farming for exports.
“It means that more educated people will be engaged in the Agric-business space and the exponential value of this cannot be overemphasised,” he added.
Mr Krapa said the initiative had also come at a most opportune time when under the stewardship of the CEO, GEPA was leading the implementation of the NEDS.
He said GEPA would continue to play a vital role in youth development in the export ecosystem.
The Minister commended the remarkable collaboration with the YEA and the experienced exporters, who served as mentors to the beneficiaries of the project.
Mr Krapa said they would be happy to see the initiative expanded to benefit many younger people and thereby help to close further the unemployment gap.
Dr Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of GEPA, said the mentors gave each of the beneficiaries practical on-field training in the production of pineapple, papaya, and vegetables (chili, okra and aubergine) with focus on the export market.
She said while eight of the trainees were trained in the production of pineapple, 11 were trained in the production of vegetables and one in the production of papaya.
“As part of the assistance that GEPA is offering these proud pioneers of the YiEP, they have already been provided funds to lease and prepare an acre of land each ready to start their Agri-business journey,” she said.
She said the trainees were supplied with seeds and suckers, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, irrigation facilities and other inputs.
The CEO said the mentors were committed to off-take all their “first fruits” and all their subsequent harvests until they were ready to start their own export operations
She assured stakeholders GEPA was committed to continuing with the programme and expanding it to benefit more of the youth.