Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, nominee for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, on Monday said getting the youth interested in agriculture should begin with the revival of running school farms in the secondary schools and the universities with modern equipment.
He said agriculture, as a subject, should also feature prominently in the curriculum and possibly be considered as a compulsory subject just like Mathematics or English to whip up interest in the Youth in Agriculture programme.
Mr. Ahwoi said agriculture was an avenue for job creation for the youth both in and out of school and therefore the youth on the streets should be assisted to form groups or companies to prepare, weed, plough and plant crops on behalf of farmers for a fee under a Land Development Cooperative programme.
The nominee, who was responding to questions from the Appointments Committee, also touched on the need to link farm production to
markets to help farmers sell their produce by establishing processing plants.
He said, he had made some initial contacts with producers of Don Simons, a fruit juice processing factory and they had expressed some interest in setting up a plant in Ghana, but the question was how to feed the factory if and when it became operational.
On the financing of small-scale farmers through credits facilities, he said there was always the issue of repayments of loans contacted by these farmers.
Mr Ahwoi said it would be better to consider giving out credit facilities to them as groups under leaders who would then help in the re-payment of the loans.
On making the annual celebration of FarmersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Day more meaningful, the nominee said every year, the celebration should be characterised by the construction of a facility such as an irrigation dam in the area where the programme would be launched to serve the community for the event to have greater impact.
He said award-winning farmers should also be identified and used as facilitators or tutors to nurture the youth who would understudy them to get more young people interested in agriculture.
Mr Azong Alhasan, nominee for the Presidency, who also took his turn before the Appointments Committee answered questions relating to his curriculum vitae and spent just some few minutes before the Committee.