The International Day of the African Youth (IDAY) Ghana has marked the Day of the African Child with a call for awakening children to go back to gardening as a means of promoting agriculture.
The 2021 celebration was on the theme: “Thirty years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an African fit for children”.
In Tema, the celebration was marked with pupils from Community Seven No. One and Two Junior High School (JHS), Akodzo JHS, and Oninku Drive JHS, among others.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Tema after the programme, Mrs. Portia Adu-Mensah, Secretary of IDAY-Ghana, said the commemoration was to show how important the African child was and the fact that the children had the capacity to achieve their aspirations.
Mrs. Adu-Mensah said inspiring the children to go into farming was also an attempt to upscale President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s initiative of greening Ghana through tree planting.
She said a lot of people were not taking advantage of the opportunities agriculture offered; “the schools have a lot of spaces they can use to teach gardening which would also encourage backyard gardening at home and help the children to eat healthily.
She therefore pleaded that school gardening be re-introduced to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) One, which was Zero Hunger for all.
Madam Esther Mbah, Acting Director, Department of Agriculture, TMA, commended the initiative to encourage the pupils to go into agriculture which would help subsidize their parent’s income.
Madam Mbah asked school children to debunk the notion that agriculture was a punishment in schools and see it as a worthwhile engagement that could benefit them and society if well practised.
“Agriculture goes along the value chain, from production, all the transporters, wholesalers and retailers, input dealers, etc., so if you don’t want to be producing you can be along the value chain, and it’s all to promote food sustainability in the country,” she observed.
Mr. Kenneth Danso, an Agronomist with Jubaili Agrotec, observed that the basic reason for gardening was to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
He said the children would know how those products were cultivated; “they would appreciate the efforts put into them and therefore would like to enjoy the fruits of their labour”.
Mr. Danso said that children engaging in farming would improve in their science achievement scores at school, enhance their skills, impact positively on them, and protect the environment by taking out polluted air and replacing them with fresh oxygen.
Madam Sheila Arthur, SHS Coordinator, Tema Metro Education Office, said, without trees, one could not survive, so one should use all available spaces as much as possible for gardening.
“Let us start now and whilst your colleagues are struggling after school, you already have a job. Don’t get this knowledge and dump it somewhere; let’s start in our own small way and it would grow to become something big which would benefit society,” she added.
International Day of the African Child is commemorated every year to remember the children in the 1976 uprising in South Africa, and serves as a reference point for addressing the many challenges that confront most African children.