Assessment of the youth in Agriculture programme in Ejura-Sekyedumase District

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The youth represent one of the productive resources of every country. In Ghana, however, most of the youth do not have jobs to do. Youths constitute about 60 percent of the unemployed in Ghana making the youth unemployment rate one of the highest in the world. In order to address this challenge, the Government of Ghana initiated the Youth in Agriculture programme (YIAP), as part of the National Youth and Employment Programme (NYEP) to provide jobs in the agriculture sector for the youth. Even though agriculture remains a sector with greater potential of providing jobs for the youth, the youth are less willing to engage in farming as their main occupation. The youth perceive farming as dirty and lacking the opportunities for personal achievements. The study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the YIAP in motivating the youth to pursue farming as a career. The study also assessed whether beneficiaries who pursued farming after exiting the YIAP were able to generate appreciable income. A quasi-experimental design was adopted to gather data on selected variables from same beneficiaries before and after their participation in the YIAP. Purposive and convenient sampling techniques were used to select beneficiaries who participated in the programme in 2011. Government departments responsible for the implementation of the Youth in Agriculture programme were also surveyed. Data were analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages. The findings of the study showed that the provision of land and agro-inputs, agricultural extension services and agribusiness management training motivated the beneficiaries to participate in the YIAP. It was also realized that the YIAP changed the negative perceptions that beneficiaries held about farming. It was also found that beneficiaries who pursued farming after exiting the YIAP generated appreciable income. The study however identified that unemployed youths with high levels of education did not participate in the YIAP. The study recommends that GYEEDA and MOFA embark on a massive sensitization drive in the form of workshops, youth fora, TV and radio programmes to attract participation by youths with high levels of education. The study also recommends that MoFA should continue to supply input credit to the youth through the Block Farm Programme so that their farming careers can be sustained. It is believed that if these recommendations are implemented, th e YIAP would become a more effective programme for motivating the unemployed youth to accept farming as a career.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.