The herbal industry has huge potential to create value-chain employment opportunities to address youth unemployment in the country, Dr Kofi Bobi Barima, the Acting Executive Director of the Centre for Plant Medicine Research, has said.
He explained that cultivation of herbal plants, harvesting, production and packaging, branding and marketing could create and fetch jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the country and called for huge investment into the sector.
Dr Barima made the call when he addressed a youth forum held in Sunyani on the theme “expanding the horizon of youth employment, the role of the youth in herbal medicine”.
The Centre in collaboration with the Sunyani Youth Development Association (SYDA) organised the forum which analysed and discussed potentials and contributions of the herbal industry towards national development.
It was attended by youth groups, civil society actors and organisations, representatives of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), National Youth Authority (MYA) and some chiefs and queens, and people with disability and some members of the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association.
The forum further enlightened participants on herbal production, research, certification, approval and authentication of herbal medicine.
Dr Barima, also a Board member of the FDA, explained herbal practice was a form of vocational training that prepared interested individuals or groups to engage in the industry, saying the sector was lucrative and had potential to contribute significantly to national development.
He noted the demand for plant medicine such as Moringa and Khaya was higher, hence the need to engage and motivate unemployed young to go into commercial cultivation of the herbal plants.
Mr Atta Akoto, the President of SYDA, called on the government to prioritize vocational education and skill training to make the sector attractive for the youth saying employable skills training held the key to addressing youth unemployment in the country.
The SYDA, he explained was committed to creating economic opportunities through employable skills training to the vulnerable groups in society.