By Gideon Kwame Sarkodie Osei (Kintampo)
In Kintampo, people have been farming since the dawn of time. Kintampo is a District in the Bono East Region of Ghana. Here, Robben Asare has dedicated himself to continuing the farming tradition, attracting young apprentices to learn through internships and small start-ups.
Robben Asare’s social enterprise is called Back to Farm Project. Mr. Robben is a 29 year old graduate from the University of Development Studies Wa Campus and read Integrated Business Studies graduating in 2015. In 2015, Robben did his National Service with the Ghana Education Service at the Suronuase DA Basic School. This is a rural community in the District.
Robben says he saw a vast arable farm land lying almost wasted whilst the many youth walk about idle complaining of no jobs.
“Whenever I close from school, I see a lot of the young ones sitting under trees doing nothing. Coming from the Ashanti Region where land ownership is very difficult, and seeing how its cheaper for people to own farm lands in this part of the country made me wonder why the youth are so discouraged in farming”, says Robben.
Mr. Robben believes that, to ensure the well-being of the community over the long term, it’s important that youth join him in farming the land. But unfortunately, not many youth are interested in agricultural work. So Mr. Robben invites young people from across the District to join him on his farm to learn farming, and hopes that they will be inspired to follow his philosophy.
He then encourage them to own small acres of land as their own farms, assisting them from his own money to take care of all labour cost, inputs, etc.
“What I basically do is that, after farming a piece of land together with the group, I then ask them to do their own farms. What they only need is site a piece of land, I take care of all the labour cost and inputs for all of them. After the harvest, I them ask them to sell the produce and use the money to fund their own activities the next season. I do not take back the money I invested. It serves as a start up for these young men and women to be on their own”, says Robben.
So far, Robben has 38 trainee farmers who own between one to three acres of farms of various crops such as cowpea, maize, yam, cassava, etc. Mr. Robben on his own, has 150 acres of Yam, Soybeans, Cowpea, Beehives, and a Mango
Nursery. This year, the Back to Farm Project will train and equip 130 young female and males farmers.
At the 2019 National Farmers’ Day Awards in Ho, Robben was judge the National Best Agro forestry Farmer.