Encouraging Young People to Get Involved in Agriculture

By Justice Amoka Sam – Community Crop and Livestock Specialist

Self-Help International is working with rural communities and schools in Ghana to increase the growing and consumption of healthy and nutritious foods and to make farming a sustainable business. Self-Help’s Agriculture and Entrepreneur Development (AED) team offers students in upper elementary and junior high school training on agriculture to help young people embrace agriculture. Self-Help works with teachers and students to form agri-business clubs in the schools. Students are then trained and coached to select an agriculture project they are interested in. Self-Help works with the club to help acquire the inputs the students need for their projects. Self-Help staff have seen that the students’ excitement for their projects often has an impact on their family or others in the community.

14-year-old Micheal and his brother, 11-year-old Akwasi, attend school in Nyamebekyere, a small, rural community in the Ashanti Region in Ghana. They live in a village called Apuayim, just 2 kilometers from their school. They have been part of the Self-Help Agri-Business club at their school since 2019.

One of the projects of the Agri-Business club in Nyamebekyere is to assist with cultivating maize that is used for the School Feeding Program, which is run jointly by Self-Help and the community. Micheal and his brother have been joining and participating in training on the maize plot at their school, which grows Quality Protein Maize using conservation agriculture practices. They have learned a lot from the demonstration at their school.

Michael and his brother have a small plot of land given to them by their father (approx 0.8 acre). They chose to plant maize for the 2021 season, following protocols they had learned and observed during Self-Help’s training at the community demonstration plot. Despite the delayed and unpredictable rains and the late planting, their farm was one of the best in the village. They were the first to harvest fresh corn. They are now telling their friends and family about conservation agriculture and good agricultural practices in order to help their neighbors maximize their yields on their plots as well.