Founder and Managing Director of Eden Tree Limited, Catherine Krobo Edusei, has called on educationists to desist from using school farms as punishment for students who engage in misdemeanours.
According to her, the practice over the years has created a deep-seated psychological dislike for farming and discouraged young people from going into Agribusiness
Speaking to Rev. Albert Ocran in a Springboard Virtual University interview to be broadcast on Sunday, March 27, on Joy 99.7 FM, Joy Prime TV and online, Madam Krobo Edusei stressed that many young people see the Agric sector as a dirty and unrewarding venture, only for the elderly, uneducated.
The award-winning entrepreneur, who is celebrating her 25th year as a farmer, indicated that Agribusiness, though a profitable and lucrative value chain, has suffered due to the negative perceptions and views surrounding it.
She called for the creation of demonstration farms, that showcase best practices in Agriculture, with high-level technology to make the sector attractive as a viable and profitable source of employment.
She also bemoaned the cost of modern technologies and the lack of access to finances to acquire them. In spite of these challenges, she still sees opportunities to create jobs in farming and agribusiness.
“Technology is such a big enabler and game-changer in Agriculture that when it is streamlined properly, with the right resources, it could change the narrative surrounding the sector. Secondly, we are not producing enough as a country and we often under-distribute and are forced to rely on imports.
“What we have therefore done at Eden Tree, is to create a scheme where we give soft loans to smallholder farmers to enable them to plant for us. While this creates income security for them, they sometimes breach trust and try to cheat by side selling.”
Sharing how she went into the Agricultural sector, Catherine Krobo Edusei indicated that she entered into farming by default.
“I relocated to Ghana as a banker, with my two children, and prayed to God for work outside the formal sector. An NGO request for aloe vera in large quantities created an opportunity. I ended up planting culinary herbs like Basel, parsley, dale, coriander, and fennel and the rest is history.” She said.
Catherine also expressed concern about the cultural perception that farming is not for women. According to her, while it is the men that lead in land acquisition and in the collection of cash, it’s women who plant, harvest, and trade the farm produce.
She called on the youth, especially young women, to view agribusiness with an open mind and not see it as below their level since the opportunities in the sector are vast and lucrative.
“If COVID has taught us anything, it is the fact that there are endless possibilities with food. The world will continue to demand more food. Considering how much arable land we have, if we make Agric enjoyable and profitable, Africa could end up being the food basket of the world” she concluded.
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