I cannot imagine why anyone would think that they can possibly demean agriculture; everyone needs food and agriculture is basis for that. It is the science behind the production of any kind of food. So, hear me when I say anybody who demeans you does not understand what they’re talking about. God was the first Agric Scientist. When you read the book of Genesis, it talks about seeds that bares food after their own kind and so on and so forth and the time taken for the creation of everything. Anyone who doesn’t understand the value of agriculture to human existence does not understand why we are here. Be rest assured; you are on the right path and agriculture encompasses everything.
It’s within agriculture that you apply every other subject that people are using to stand alone. Whether it’s to do with the distance between one plant and another, whether it’s to do with mixed cropping because you know one is a shallow and the other is a deep. One is fibrous and the other is a tap, whether it’s to do with mixed cropping or mixed rotation or whatever animals you choose to have; whether its aqua ponding or whatever it is you’re doing, there’s a science behind that and agric practicalizes all of those sciences and your colleagues should be looking up to you. I can assure you that those of you who decides to really expand this will be employing some of those people.
I would like to congratulate Alberta Akyaa Akosa and the Agrihouse Foundation team as well as all the amazing people here who have come to support you to let you know that you’re on the right path. Your visit to Jubilee House on the first day should let you understand that what you’re doing makes a difference to the future of this country.
I’m encouraged by the fact that we have two secondary schools here. Remain on the path. Don’t let anyone discourage you at all. Bear in mind that you have heavy weights behind you who understand your value and are willing to invest in you. So don’t give up. Every time you feel like you’re struggling, look around and reach out. You’re not alone. Otherwise, why would I leave Parliament and come here.
Any country that does not have proper food security is a country that has its hands in somebody else’s mouth, and you are the ones who will help fix that. So as you’re growing up, whether you’re on the production end or you’re on the value addition, whichever part of the production chain you’re in, whether you’re in policy; policy design or whatever it is, wherever you find yourself, remember that what you are doing must have an integral part of whatever we decide to do as a nation. We have so much arable lands and I don’t understand why we import food into this country. There are countries in this world who have so much desert land and very little arable land but the amount of food they produce will make us bow our heads in shame as a country and we need to overcome that and that is in your hands. You are the future. You are the ones who will ensure that nobody; whether it is a war somewhere else or anything anywhere else, none of that will affect our ability to feed ourselves as a nation. As you move forward, as you network, this is the time you make friends for life. There’s a project I’m working with Agrihouse on, it’s the IT IS POSSBILE PROJECT and a lot of that happened because of the network that we have. This happened because we have developed relationships with people that enable us to reach out to them and say: “I’m doing this project can you give me money to do it?” And they know when they give us the money, we can account for every cedi and they know they will see the results because they understand out level of commitment. So stand by your principles. Your values are important.
Whatever values you have now, stand by those things and be known as people who when you say yes, its yes and when you say no, it’s no.
And if you know there is something you can’t do, there is nothing wrong with saying “I can’t do it yet”, and to ask for help. And if there is something you don’t know it’s ok to say “I don’t know, I would like to find out” because nobody has all the answers and nobody knows everything, that’s why you’re here. You’re here from different backgrounds, different schools, different educational levels, because that’s how we learn from each other. Society is made up of people who are not homogenous, we are different groups, and that’s how we can learn. So please, take advantage of this. Get to know each other better and as you leave, stay in touch with one another because there are some things that you may be learning in your school that you can learn from somebody else who is having the practical experience. For the teachers who have accompanied the students here, all I can say is “May God bless you, you are making a difference”. Be proud of the subject you are doing.
I did agric as a core subject for 6 years; back in the days it was compulsory. We did 3 years in JHS and 3 years in SSS. Back in the days we had to do technical skills which also involved carpentry, metal work and all of that, we had to do all of that. So there is no way that somebody can tell me that “If they don’t do furniture for me, I won’t have a chair to sit on”, I can build a chair for myself. Nobody can tell me that I can’t eat, because I can plant my own food, I can prepare a bed, whether it’s the elevated one or the other one. So you should have pride in the ability to do this, but then scale it up. The ability to scale it up in agric, especially in Ghana, is all about the cooperative situation where we all see how we bring our strengths together so that the result is bigger than what any single person can achieve. And as we work together, it makes us more competitive in terms of markets and access to maybe the foreign markets. And then my last piece of advice, I am pleading with you – your standard- because if you cannot keep the standards, you can’t compete with the international market. And, it is important, even for your local market, when you do something, let the quality be so good that nobody wants to look for an alternative. Let it be your product that they want, the made in Ghana product, because the made in Ghana product is just as good or even better than the one that’s from elsewhere. And then the rest is for us to also ensure that we push as hard as possible so that we get the right prices for the products that you have, so that your prices are competitive, because that’s another difficulty with locally produced things, that sometimes the imported things are cheaper because the cost of actually producing all of that is so high that you have no choice but to increase the price in order to even make little profit for all the work that you have done.
So, while you are doing your bit, those of us who find ourselves in leadership have to do our bit to ensure that we are making sure that the market is an enabling environment for you to actually thrive and to succeed, and that’s how we all work together. I would also say one other thing, when you have suggestions, come together put your suggestions together and do not be afraid to submit your suggestions to parliament or to the President. Don’t wait for a committee of this or that to up with something, because you know, you are fully aware of some of the challenges and while you are aware of it, make it known. Make it official and let the world know that you have a voice and you are making use of your voice. For example, if you write a petition to the speaker, the speaker has to read it on the floor of parliament, and the speaker will most likely be forced to direct a committee to take up the issue. So when there are matters that are of concern to you, don’t wait and let someone else do it, take the bull by the balls, you’re leaders in your own right.
You cannot copy content of this page