Starting next year, a youth in farming project will commence in Ghana by 4-H, which is a youth development programme of the co-operative extension system of the US, with over 6.5 million youth throughout the world and committed towards youth leadership development.
To be implemented in two phases beginning in January 2012, Phase 1 will see the establishment of 60 school gardens and enterprise gardens for youth in school and those out of school respectively in 12 districts in the Eastern and Volta Regions and would be extended to 120 districts in the second year.
Speaking at a meeting of Members of the Board of Directors of 4-H Ghana and members of the 4-H National Council in Koforidua, Mr Kwaku Boateng, the CEO of 4-H Ghana, said in Ghana the project would be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and other key stakeholders.
A 3.5 million US Dollars fund from the United States (US) has been set up for the training of in and out-of-school youth in farming. DuPoint, a seed production company based in the US, has committed $2,000,000 to the fund. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would also contribute $1,500,000, which would be channeled through 4-H branches in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania for the implementation of the project within the next two years.
In a press release by 4-H Ghana on the launching of the fund at Des Moines in Iowa, USA this year, the Executive Vice-President of DuPoint , Mr James C. Borel, said his company and 4-H shared the belief that youth development was the key to sustainable initiative to address global food security.
He said no single company or organization could solve global food security alone and that DuPoint was committed to being part of the solution.He expressed the hope that others would support the global 4-H network.
Mr Donald T Floyd Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National 4-H Council, said youth development was the world’s best long term solution to ensure food security and global economic stability.
He said 4-H’s 100-year history in agriculture innovation and youth skill-building, combined with an existing infrastructure in more than 70 countries throughout the world , had positioned it to equip millions of young people in developing nations with the skills needed to build a truly sustainable future.
The CEO of 4-H Ghana added that model enterprise shops would be established with cold chain systems to provide sales outlets for 4-H projects and school gardens for products like pork, meat, duck, rabbit and vegetables for sale.