The National Service Scheme (NSS) has acquired 20,000 acres of farmland in the Kumawu area of the Ashanti Region for a commercial farming estate.
Known as Kumawu Youth Farm, the project will start with the cultivation of maize, rice and soya this year.
The Executive Director of the NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi, who made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Monday, said: “This is going to be our biggest farming enclave, one of an end-to-end nature, which starts from production to processing in the long term.”
The NSS is said to have moved directions from “Mobilisation for Deployment” to “Deployment for Employment”, and Mr Antwi said the new strategic direction, his own initiative, sought to provide the enabling environment for all personnel to acquire the relevant skills that could meet industrial demand.
Under it, young graduates are expected to embrace entrepreneurship by identifying viable areas of the economy where they could explore their potential.
Some of the initiatives under the new strategic direction are the Job Platform, SME Accounting Aid Programme, Teaching Programme, IT Solution Programme, Communication Project, and the Youth in Housing Project.
The NSS had engaged former Member of Parliament for Twifo-Atti-Morkwa and Policy Advisor, Abraham Dwuma Odoom, as a consultant for the Kumawu project.
The NSS already has 14 farms across the country where it cultivates mainly maize.
Mixed commercial farming
However, this time, the Kumawu Youth Farm will engage in mixed cropping and animal husbandry.
Mr Antwi said currently the NSS was in discussions with agencies, including the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the MasterCard Foundation, which had expressed interest in making funds available for the cultivation of the land.
“The object of this farm project is to create a vibrant agricultural enclave for the many youths in and around Kumawu township for sustainable employment,” he said.
“We intend to create about 20,000 direct and five thousand indirect jobs under the project,” Mr Antwi added.
On the programme for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Accounting Aid programme, Mr Antwi said the personnel would provide professional accounting services to SMEs to enhance their financial management practices.
“We want the SMEs to engage in proper bookkeeping to facilitate credit accessibility, tracking of business performance, management of cash flow and related activities,” he said.
Touching on IT solutions, he said the initiative sought to equip service personnel with relevant skills to create mobile application software and become self-employed.
Already, training programmes are being undertaken through an incubation programme dubbed: Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Track, to produce highly skilled personnel for corporate brands.