By: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji Incoom
Harnessing Agricultural Productivity and Prosperity for Youth (HAPPY) program is a four-year transformative and ambitious project aimed at creating over 326,000 dignified and sustained agricultural jobs in Ghana.
In the 2024 budget statement, the government set a bold target of creating a minimum of 1 million jobs for the country’s youth. At the kick-off meeting of the HAPPY program in Accra, Mr. Daniel Acquaye, the CEO of Agri-Impact Limited, noted that the number of jobs to be created under HAPPY will constitute over 30 percent of the target set by the government.
Spanning 2023-2026, Agri-Impact Limited (AIL), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and eight other Implementing Partners (IPs), will be empowering, improving livelihoods, and alleviating poverty among the youth (70% women) and differently abled individuals in disadvantaged communities by investing in four key value chains: rice, soybean, tomato, and poultry. Mr. Acquaye was optimistic that, with effective collaboration with the IPs, the aims and objectives of HAPPY will be greatly achieved.
The project, which will be carried out in 10 regions of the country, forms part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Initiative, aiming to unlock job opportunities by empowering youth, women, and differently abled individuals in vulnerable communities.
While Ghana produces 193,000 MT of soybean, its local demand is over 400,000 MT. Similarly, Ghana’s demand for rice is estimated to be 1,783,000 MT per annum ($1billion) and forecasted to reach $2.67 billion (in retail prices) in 2025, even though current production meets only 43% of demand. Ghana produces about 419,800 MT of fresh tomatoes, imports $100 million worth of tomato paste annually, and over 75,000 MT of fresh tomatoes valued at $180-$280million. The national demand for poultry meat alone is approximately 400,000MT while local production is about 61,000 MT (95 million birds).
These production gaps provide employment opportunities for youth. The HAPPY project will increase production volumes, reduce imports, and create sustainable economic opportunities. Thus, increase rice productivity by 28%, soybean productivity by 42%, and tomato productivity by 44%.
The Implementing Partners for the consortium-managed project with Agri-Impact Limited as the Project Management Unit (PMU) include the Ghana National Service Scheme (NSS), NewAge Agric Solutions Limited, The Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), MiDA Ghana Cares “Obaatan Pa” Programme, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), The Directorate of Crop Services (and Animal Production Directorate) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, TechnoServe, and Jobberman.
Agri-Impact Limited, as the Project Management Unit (PMU), will draw on its 21-year expertise in managing agribusiness projects and offering consultancies in over 30 countries in Africa for national and international organizations. In collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, AIL is guiding all the eight Implementing Partners to ensure coherence, alignment, and adherence to the Foundation’s financial reporting system.
Roles of Implementing Partners.
- The Ghana National Service Scheme (GNSS)
The Scheme is establishing an enclave production system where training and capacity building of youth and access to services will be available to them to strategically deploy 81,980 formal youth to the project by providing them with opportunities to identify and transition to jobs. Within the enclaves, NSS is allocating 10,000ha of land for rice cultivation, 7,000ha for soybean cultivation, and 3,000ha of land for tomato cultivation. Support to youth deployed in the enclave They will offer support in starter packs for the youth in crop agro inputs and provide technical services in agronomic practices. Additionally, GNSS will support 4,665 youth in poultry production in collaboration with the Directorate of Crop Services and the Animal Production Directorate.
- NewAge Agric Solutions Limited
NewAge is providing high-tech agricultural inputs and services to farmers. It’s offering 18,000 hectares of land, both irrigated and rainfed, for use by young farmers, particularly women to create 18,000 direct and 127,000 indirect jobs. NewAge will also support 120 youth to establish 120hectares of rice seed farms and provide a digital platform for knowledge transfer. It will offer agro-inputs on a partial credit basis, agronomic services, and improved technologies to producers, with the cost of inputs recouped after harvest. Furthermore, NewAge will create opportunities for 1,500 youth as agro-input dealers.
- The Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA)
The GEA focuses on enterprise development and mindset change. GEA is mobilizing and supporting 15,175 informal youth in establishing enterprises related to post-production activities in the value chains under the project. The Agency will also provide training, resources, and support for activities such as aggregation, milling, parboiling, packaging, product development, and marketing.
- Millennium Development Authority (Ghana Cares),”Obaatan Pa” Programme
The Programme, an initiative of the Ministry of Finance, is allocating lands and invest in infrastructure and financial support for the HAPPY project. 2,500 hectares of irrigated land, 60hectares rice seed production site, and invest $15 million to match the support from the Mastercard Foundation. The programme focuses on addressing the “big business talent deficit” among educated youth in the agribusiness entrepreneurial space. Ghana Cares will also support the project by constructing 200 housing units, install electricity infrastructure, provide land preparation equipment and irrigation canals, and offering monthly stipends (Ghc800) to youth actors during the first year of production.
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
CRS is mobilizing and engaging 19,325 youth in increasing the productivity of rice and soybean and engage additional 512 youth to participate in Poultry and enroll youth as private extension agents who will provide advisory services and establish agro-input credit schemes. CRS will also collaborate with other partners such as the Directorate of Crop Services (DCS), Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), and TechnoServe (TNS) to deliver training, enterprise development, and digital inclusion services. They also intend to onboard a partner to offer toll-free mobile services for smallholder farmers.
- The Directorate of Crop Services (DCS)
The DCS takes on the role of leading policy interventions and providing technical expertise in agronomic practices and management. Review training manuals, approve seeds, and offer training of trainers (ToTs) for extension delivery. DCS will mentor and support youth in producing certified rice, soybean, and tomato seeds. The Directorate will further collaborate with the Animal Production Directorate (APD) to implement the poultry program, and animal husbandry.
TechnoServe is supporting 16- agri-SMEs across the project’s value chains and adjacent sectors. Offer at least 15,540 jobs at the end of the project. TechnoServe is also providing value chain facilitation support, technical assistance to selected SMEs, and working as offtakers to implement inclusive business plans. TechnoServe will also manage a $475,000 micro-support scheme, offering start-up financial support to enterprises; prioritize youth agency and advocacy, gender mainstreaming, for partners to promote gender equity in program activities.
Jobberman, as a partner, is linking participants with employers in the agriculture sector, fulfilling career opportunities for 8,000 youth. Offer employment support and agro-employability-focused education through various platforms. Jobberman will also organize agribusiness career fairs, counseling sessions, CV clinics, workshops, and employer forums to create dignified and fulfilling career opportunities for youth in the agriculture sector.
For further inquiries, please contact:
(+233) 244 360 763 / (+233) 303 937 674