Thursday, July 2, 2020

Ghana: How tech is attracting young people into farming

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Isaac Kaledzihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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There is a low involvement rate of young people in the Agricultural sector, despite it being the backbone of many economies across Africa.

Many young people consider farming stressful and outdated and usually shy away.

But in Ghana things are changing. There is an effort to digitize the sector so as to attract young people and it seems to be working.

In eastern Ghana, Valentine Klutse who is in his 30s displays how he sprays crops with a drone at a farm.

Klutse who is a qualified pilot is able to spray several hectares of farm lands within hours thanks to the drone technology.

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Without this service it would have taken days and weeks for the farm owner to spray his crops manually.

Valentine Klutse standing by a drone at a farm in Eastern Ghana. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Technology transforming farming

At first Klutse and his family didn’t want anything to do with farming but thanks to technology, he now appears willing to settle in Agriculture and expand his services.

“I have never farmed before, my mother is okay, my father is okay, they were still thinking like, why are we okay and you are still doing this kind of job and I was like this is what I want to do. So even when I am coming here they are even supporting me,” Klutse told Africa Feeds.

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Kluste busy operating a drone via remote. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

He adds that “When I completed university I wanted to register my company. We should be a drone company and everything. So I have like five drones that I am using to work. I am going to do it fulltime.”

Klutse is not alone in the digitization of farming in Ghana. Edna Tetteh, also in her 30s, studied technology at the university in Ghana.

Edna Tetteh (M) with some colleagues from her company Soil Solutions showing how their technology works. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

She has a tech company that produces soil testing system for farmers and for her it’s an opportunity to put her skills to good use.

Tetteh told Africa Feeds that she has “a background in technology and so I have been asking, how best can I use my background or whatever thing I have studied in school to help this poor farmer?

It is Agric and technology so I will be able to impact whatever thing I have learnt to the Agric environment. So basically that was what excited me. I needed to do something to help the farmer.”

Thanks to technology and the initiative to digitize farming in Ghana, young people are now finding agriculture attractive and are willing to get involved.

Social testing system that depends on technology. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Private sector driven

But so far these new ideas are largely private sector driven. Kosmos Energy, an oil production company, has set up a tech incubator that supports young people creating tech solutions for the agriculture sector.

George Sarpong who is in charge of this incubator called Kosmos innovation centre said “We are putting all the necessary tools to allow young people to find agriculture interesting and also recognize that agriculture is perhaps the most profitable sector that you can enter because the last time I checked, you and I we eat.”

“Population is growing. We need to create the environment for young people to create the next platform that will hire another young people,” Sarpong added.

Farms like these are managed and cultivated using technology. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Sarpong however noted that Ghana’s government must get actively involved by formulating policies that support such innovations to expand further.

A communication specialist at Ghana’s Agric ministry, Issah Alhassan told Africa Feeds that the government desires to focus on young people and encourage them to get involved in transforming farming through technology.

Alhassan said the government wants “to encourage the youth to come on board. There is the youth in agriculture program being run by the ministry, what is being executed by people who have the intellect in modern technology in Agriculture.”

“We are encouraging the youth to come on board so we push this country and realize the dream of modernizing Ghana’s economy through Agriculture, Alhassan added.

A young woman ready to operate a drone at a farm. Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Young people like Klutse and Tetteh now enjoy farming. It is no longer a stressful activity but an avenue to put their skills to work through technology.

Ghana depends heavily on Agriculture and digitizing the sector to attract young and tech-savvy people can only make it better and create jobs for those still idle.

 

 

Source: Africafeeds.com

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