The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), Ghana Poultry Project has held a mentorship and business boot camp for young entrepreneurs.
The three-day project trained over 150 young entrepreneurs interested in the poultry business across the project’s three implementing regions – Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Bono.
The boot camp marks the beginning of the 4th cohort of the Poultry Mentorship Program under the “Creating Access and Opportunities for the Next Generation Agribusiness Entrepreneur.”
The Poultry Youth Mentorship Program- GPP’s Mentorship Program, is a training initiative designed to facilitate the successful mainstreaming of youth into the poultry value chain through capacity building.
It started in 2017 and aims to develop young people into highly skilled, innovative, and committed agribusiness entrepreneurs.
In her remarks at the boot camp, the Chief of Party of GPP, Carianne de Boer, congratulated the young leaders for their enthusiasm to be relevant in the future African agricultural economy.
She noted that the challenges in the agricultural sector, especially for youth participation were well documented and admonished them never to give up, adding, “Possibilities abound when we dare to dream.”
She said that USDA was committed to empowering the youth, especially young women to create sustainable employment in the agribusiness sector.
Mr Asiwome Biekro, Communications & Marketing Specialist, GPP, said more than ever, economic sustainable development of agriculture must be prioritised to be able to achieve global food security objectives.
There is lots of room to improve Africa’s food production systems to feed the continent and beyond, he added.
He said without adequate capacity, the next generation was unlikely to escape hunger and poverty.
“USDA through its Ghana Poultry Project (GPP) believes that providing mentoring opportunities for young entrepreneurs in poultry business can prepare them to face the complex demands of the future,” Mr Biekro said.
He said USDA and ACDI/VOCA shared in the success of past mentees who had through the program built their skills and knowledge in the poultry business to impact their families and communities.
“More than 20 of the 45 past mentees were supported to establish their small businesses whilst others had gained employment along the value chain,” Mr said.
The boot camp provided training opportunities for participants and a chance to interact with industry players along the value chain including farmers, agritech and fintech providers, regulators, financial institutions, and input suppliers.
Also, researchers from academia and representatives from government institutions were present to shape the conversations, especially around technology and innovation as well as sustainable animal husbandry.
The National Board of Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI) provided training on Business Development and Record-Keeping whereas AV Ventures, an impact investment Company and a for-profit subsidiary of ACDI/VOCA took the entrepreneurs through Financing Models suitable for early-stage agri-businesses.
There was also a panel discussion where, both participants and panelists identified areas that provided advantages for youth-led businesses, constraints, and strategies to navigate barriers.
Panelists were made up of partners working to promote youth development in Ghana such as GIZ, NBSSI, poultry producers, processors, and marketers, as well as poultry sector group representatives.
Participants were also given the chance to make industrial trips to poultry farms, including farms, feed manufacturing companies, meat processing facilities, and hatchery.
Thirty participants (ten per region) will be selected based on their business ideas to move to the next stage of getting placement on farms and in other poultry enterprises of their choice for hands-on training and mentorship.
Each mentee will present a finetuned version of their business proposals at the end of the period for evaluation out of which grants will be awarded for mentees to implement the top 15 proposals.
Participants took a trip to Eco Feeding Company in Tema, and also visited Ransboat Poultry Farm in Nsawam.