‘Ageing farmer population worrying’

Agriculture activist, Alberta Nana Yaa Akosa has described as worrying the country’s ageing farmer population — which she said threatens sustainability of food production.
Speaking to the B&FT ahead of the National Food and Agric Show (FAGRO) Agric Summit, Ms. Akosa said: “There is compelling evidence of an ageing farmer population in the country, which must be addressed to facilitate sustainability in agricultural production.  Most farmers in Ghana are over 55 years and our life-expectancy averages between 55-60 years”.
According to her, the country already relies heavily on imported food to feed its growing population, and reversing the trend would mean that the youth must take up the mantle and venture into agriculture.
This year’s Agric Summit, which is on the theme ‘Further unlocking the Ghanaian Agricultural Sector: The role of Youth & Women’, is geared toward providing a launch-pad that seeks to reverse the trend.
“There is a lot of potential in the agricultural sector for the youth and women, but it’s about identifying the right opportunities. The youth and women are strategic to the success of any effort to boost Ghana’s food production,” she added.
“Ghana remains largely an agricultural economy, with 56 percent of the population employed mainly as smallholder farmers; there is a need for government and stakeholders to lead the way by moving agriculture from subsistence to a market economy,” she said.
Commenting on the essence of the summit, Ms. Akosa added that it provides an opportunity for key stakeholders such as development partners, researchers, farmer groups, government agencies and corporate leaders to look at further unlocking the sector while fostering agricultural entrepreneurship among the youth and women.
The summit, which comes off on July 8 at the La Palm Royal Hotel she said, will also allow for dialogue to continue — building the knowledge base and the capacity to inform policy decisions for improved livelihood of both farmers and other key stakeholders.
The summit will combine keynotes, panel and open discussions to capture issues impacting Ghana’s agricultural sector while presenting a unique platform for policymakers, farmers’ group, researchers, government agencies and corporate entities and funders to network, exchange knowledge and gain insights into the context of youth and women’s involvement in agriculture.
The one-day summit will be opened by Food and Agric Minister Fiifi Kwetey, who’s expected to lead over 150 delegates drawn from farmer-based organisations, policymakers and development partners, among other key stakeholders.

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