Start small to thrive in farming – John Dumelo advises youth

Multi-award-winning actor and farmer, John Dumelo, has advised the youth interested in venturing into agriculture to start small and not await huge capital.

In an exclusive interview, the farmer cum politician stated that even though farming is a lucrative industry, most of the youth feel discouraged to chart that path because they assume it requires huge funding, massive land and sophisticated technologies to begin.

“You can start farming with one plot of land. You can grow vegetables, make sure you have your market, sell it and reinvest the small profit into the farming and it will gradually grow,” he said.

He stated that in as much as funding is very essential, it is necessary to start small with the little capital and piece of land available to acquire firsthand knowledge and skills to subsequently leverage for funds in the future.

“Nobody is going to give you the capital if you haven’t farmed before. But if you start small, you will get the experience and evidence to seek financial support. Access to capital in this country is difficult and it cuts across all sectors, so at the initial stage, you can generate capital from friends and family,” he stated.

“So for the youth who want to go into farming, the first thing is to be patient, dedicated, and have passion. Most of them just want to get into it, invest, and then within a month or two, they may have doubled their money. Vegetables take 3 months, the new variety of cocoa 2 to 3 years, coconut 4 years, and rubber 5 to 6 years. It is about timing and once you start planting, you are going to harvest,” he said.

Also, he added that in order to enhance economic development in the agricultural sector, the country has to move from being just a producer to a manufacturer and add value to the natural resources being produced.

“For instance, Ghana produces timber and we need to add value to it to make high-quality furniture that would be exported to other countries rather than the raw material. One of the world’s largest producers of chocolate is Switzerland, however, it produces approximately just one percent of cocoa. We are the second largest producer of cocoa, yet, where has our chocolate gotten to?” he bemoaned.

He further added that as the country strives to “eat what we grow and grow what we eat”, it is important to change the educational system at the early stage and incorporate farming practices in the curriculum to take away the thought of children perceiving farming as a form of punishment.

Agriculture plays a significant role in the economic development of the country. Aside from providing about 90 percent of food for the growing population, it absorbs 52 percent of the labour force and contributes to 54 percent of the country’s GDP as well as accounts for over 40 percent of export earnings.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the GDP from agriculture as of the first quarter of 2022 was GH¢1 billion but decreased to GH¢836.6 million in the second quarter of the year.

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