Mr Francis Takyi-Koranteng, Upper East Regional Director of the National Youth Authority (NYA), says there are plans to acquire lands to serve as demonstration fields across the region to support youth to go into commercial farming.
He said the Directorate had engaged stakeholders, including opinions leaders and landowners in some communities in the region, to acquire lands to engage and support interested youth to go into agricultural activities.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Koranteng noted that the directorate had observed the increasing youth unemployment, which is worsening the poverty situation in the region.
He said the acquisition of the lands was an initiative to offer young people employment opportunities.
Mr Koranteng said under the programme, the NYA would provide some of the youth inputs while others would provide labour on the farms.
Also, groups, who wished to venture into agricultural production, would be assisted with lands.
Mr Takyi-Koranteng said landowners in Bawku Municipal, Talensi and Binduri Districts, had expressed interest to release lands to the directorate to support the youth to go into farming.
“We are yet to sit with the landowners to agree on whether the lands would be released free, sold or rented to us but in all this, we want it to be like a collaboration between the communities and NYA. In as much as we are bringing the idea, we want them to own it, so their involvement is very important,” he added.
The Regional Director explained that although the initiative was a special programme to be implemented by the NYA, it would tap into the benefits of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and leverage the services of the Department of Agriculture to ensure resilient farming, environmental protection and good yields.
“Our aim is to provide jobs and make sure the youth are no more idle because most of them due to unavailability of jobs, they want to get out of poverty through short-cut means like cybercrime and armed robbery, among others,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the programme would further help address rising cases of teenage pregnancy and empower young women economically.
He said apart from reducing poverty among the youth, the programme would contribute to the region’s food security.