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International Youth Day: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health

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Youthful entrepreneurs across Ghana are breaking new ground, creating jobs and wealth by transforming food systems through creativity and innovation. As we celebrate World Youth Day on the special theme of “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, this is an important occasion to celebrate some of them.

On average, many households across Ghana spend almost half of their total expenditure on food. This rises from 36% of household expenditures in Greater Accra to 50% in Brong Ahafo, Eastern, and Northern regions, according to the Ghana’s Living Standard Survey 7 . Food also accounts for 17% of Ghana’s total import bill and already employs 30% of the population. It is estimated that 2 in 5 of every male employee and 1 in 5 for females, is employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing. This means that encouraging more food system entrepreneurs can help to reduce the burden on households, national revenues and offer more employment opportunities.

Creating the ecosystem for young entrepreneurs to thrive would benefit from three key emerging lessons from food system entrepreneur in Ghana. There are young people in the agriculture value-chain, who have demonstrated the power of a great idea that is nurtured by tenacity, research and a solid support network.

First, they have demonstrated the need for tenacity and grit when emerging entrepreneurs are faced by roadblocks. Alhassan in Northern Ghana whose growing business produces hatcheries and trains farmers on guinea fowl rearing is a good example. He stayed in the game by turning challenges into opportunity. Fresh out of school with no prospects and very little starting capital, he was able to transform scrap metal from fridges into egg incubators. He faced challenges with many unsuccessful attempts and technology barriers, but he did not give up. He was able to use the knowledge he had gained from his family and online research to find creative solutions to overcome his roadblocks.

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