The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with AGRITOP Ltd, an Israeli agricultural enterprise with competence in greenhouse village technology has successfully trained 540 recent graduates in agriculture in the technology around the nation.
Along with receiving training, 350 of the graduates participated in an 11-month internship program with seasoned Israeli farmers, gaining firsthand knowledge of Israeli technology.
Most of them have returned to their homes and are either building up their own greenhouses or making their knowledge available to others.
Presently, the Ministry is in charge of about 100 greenhouses built by the Israeli company in Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region. These greenhouses will be distributed to private individuals, especially those graduates who returned from the 11-month training program to serve as trainers of trainers so that the Israeli knowledge they acquired can be localized for the benefit of us all.
It is encouraging to see that the government is putting together the paperwork to begin distributing these greenhouses so that the recipients can scale up their vegetable production and meet not only domestic but also global demand.
The centers must be turned over to the Ministry as part of the knowledge transfer process because they have been vacant since the company finished its program in 2021.
It is true that the villages have trained not only the graduates but also the Ghanaians who assisted the Israelis, and it is anticipated that some of the graduates and members of the staff will take over the management of the centers and the instruction of additional youngsters at the various centers.
With the use of contemporary methods and technology, these villages are intended to provide young people with knowledge, competence, and training in agricultural production while also giving unemployed graduates work.
Unfortunately, despite the big and lucrative vegetable industry, the nation has not yet fully explored it.
We have nothing to worry about because we have everything at our disposal, including the technological know-how that AGRITOP kindly shared with us. The East Africans are definitely profiting from the vegetable sector.
The European market is enormous, and we have an edge over East African nations, which are currently one of the leading suppliers of vegetables to those markets, in addition to meeting the need of our own local market.
In order to enhance the production in the vegetable business, the 540 recent agricultural graduates who had the opportunity to take the greenhouse technology training with AGRITOP must now train many more eager young people around the nation.
It is anticipated that the government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, will sustain and enhance it so that within the shortest amount of time, the technology may be reproduced countrywide.
AGRITOP Ltd. did a lot to spark interest in the vegetable sector from 2017 to May 2021.
The company established three Greenhouse Capacity Building Centers and Commercial Units during its five-year tenure, two in the Ashanti Region’s Akumadan and one in the Greater Accra Region’s Dawhenya and Bawjiase.
Each greenhouse has a centre, which consists of one of three modules totalling 13,500 square meters, 4,500 of which are used to grow tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers. Up until the last cohort graduated last year, each of the three centres ran a three-month training program for 30 agricultural graduates at a time.
The centres are also created to make it easier for vegetable producers, aggregators, seed suppliers, input dealers, transporters, and produce distributors to develop their entire value chain. Additionally, the centres are created to produce high-quality, fresh vegetables for urban residents in Kumasi, Accra, and Tema as well as for export all year long.
In fact, one of the five modules under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, the greenhouse village program, focuses on assuring sufficient vegetable output for both domestic and international markets.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, predicted that in seven years, the nation might earn roughly $1 billion from vegetable exports at the opening ceremony of the Akumadan Greenhouse Village.
According to reports, he said that growing three specific vegetables—tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers in greenhouses could provide over GH2.49 million annually. Inferentially, we’ll be in fine shape if the greenhouses are built all around the nation.
Vegetable production is unquestionably a low-hanging fruit for our local farmers, who can not only take over supply to hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets but also promote food tourism by enticing customers to buy local foods, which will raise their businesses’ profits.
The local economy will benefit greatly from this because the nation’s focus will now be on local vegetable farmers rather than importing crops.
To suit the needs of the local market and the tourism industry, tons of vegetables are currently imported into the nation.
It is encouraging that the administration is eager to work with development partners to continue expanding the nation’s vegetable production through hands-on training.
Because of this, the partnership between the governments of Ghana and Israel over the 11-month knowledge transfer must continue in order to raise the number of applicants each year and expand the pool of Ghanaian youngsters who can participate in the program.