The Ghana government has been called upon to act on climate-related crises by creating alternative livelihood opportunities to minimize the impact on the youth and people living in poverty.
This would call for the government to consciously target the youth through its Green Ghana project by providing them with cash crops such as cashew, moringa and mango seedlings among others to motivate them to get involved in farming while contributing to climate mitigation activities.
Mr Rasheed Salifu Bakuna, the Regional Coordinator of the Upper West Chapter of Activista Ghana, made the call in a press statement during the occasion of the International Youth Day Celebration held in Jirapa.
The statement noted that successive governments had not rolled out sustainable programmes to holistically harness the potential of the youth.
Activista Ghana cautioned that the growing energy of the youth, if not properly redirected, could pose a threat to the peace and security of African nations.
It urged the government to take stringent steps and invest in irrigation infrastructure by implementing a well-constructed “One-Village-One-Dam” policy across every community that lacks such facilities in the Upper West Region to enable the youth to engage in meaningful dry season farming to improve their lot.
With the increasing cost of production in the country, the group recommended to stakeholders the establishment of compost plants in the region, where organic manure could be produced and supplied to farmers at reduced prices.
The statement further called on government and other stakeholders to introduce more entrepreneurship training and skills development programmes, noting that the selection of beneficiaries for such programmes should be made devoid of politics.
Madam Abiba Nibaradun, the Upper West Regional Programme Officer of ActionAid Ghana, explained that International Youth Day is celebrated each year to recognize the resilience, struggle, and efforts of the youth in Ghana, Africa and the world at large.
She noted that the youth could not contribute meaningfully to agriculture if issues of climate change were not addressed, hence the focus on it to draw government attention to the challenge.
“The youth are a very integral part of society and proper programmes need to be implemented and well targeted to ensure that the youth are able to benefit to help reduce some of the social vices that are attributed to them,” Madam Nibaradun said.
She explained that globally, this year’s International Youth Day Celebration is on the theme: “Inter-generational Solidarity: Creating a World for all ages”, however, the Upper West Regional Chapter of Activista Ghana with support from ActionAid Ghana, marked the day under the local theme: “Alternative Livelihood Opportunities for the Youth: The Role of Stakeholders.”
Mr Abu Baayirinaa of the Jirapa Department of Agriculture, in a presentation on the topic, “Mitigating the risk posed by climate change on food security: the role of the youth”, urged the youth to educate their colleagues on key principles of conservation agriculture, including crop diversity, permanent soil cover, and minimum mechanic soil disturbance.
He urged the youth to endeavour to venture into organic compost production, tree crop farming, livestock integration with tree crops, and irrigation farming as a business.
Mr Issahaque Abass Caesar, the Jirapa Municipal Coordinator of the National Youth Authority, lauded the government for the construction of National Youth Centres across the country.
He admonished the youth to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism to gain some relevant experience, which could be beneficial to them in their search for jobs in the future.
Ms Emmanuella Maaldefaar Nuobiere, an Official of the Jirapa Municipal Planning Unit, urged the youth to help educate their community members to take advantage of opportunities presented by the government through the Ghana Production Safety Net, among others.