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Empowering Youths in Ghana for Success in Agriculture via Mentorship

In the late 2014, Miriam Hird-Younger, as part of her series “Investing in Youth in Agriculture-Engineers Without Borders Canada in Ghana” showcased the potential and future of agriculture in Ghana. She also highlighted a few of the youths that inspired her in her work in Ghana for which my story was one of them. As part of my contribution to the success and vision of YPARD as well as my goals, I would also like to publish the success stories of some of the youths who benefited from my mentoring and advocacy for success in agriculture. I see this as a “fruit yielding fruits” and thanks to YPARD and Mirriam Hird-Younger of EWB-Canada for helping me to challenge and encourage my fellow youths for success in agriculture in Ghana as well as sharing my stories globally.

Here is the first story of Richmond Azilah.

Richmond Azilah benefited from Nicholas’ mentoring to the youths in Ghana through a program known as YEAR-Africa (Young Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Resolution-Africa). This "YEAR" program is specifically a way of helping people to help themselves. The major concern of the youths is the lack of employment in an employable environment like Ghana. Empowering young people to be entrepreneurs through agribusiness is the best way to secure the future of the young generations.

Richmond Azilah, who is 24 years old now, hails from the Volta Region of Ghana, which is close to the capital city and he is currently building his own future and career by rearing rabbits and assisting his family in their farms. Richmond was born in a rural community and had no option other than to assist his family in the farms. The most common crops grown in his locality are rice, maize, pepper, cassava, etc.

Richmond realized his potential and the available demand in life through agriculture at the Junior High School Level where he started nursing pepper seeds and grafting oranges for sale to local farmers. He stated ‘anywhere you find yourself,  life offers you an opportunity to gain success’ and ‘you have to think and see what others have shut their minds and eyes’. His desire to be an agriculturalist arose strongly that he decided to pursue Agricultural Science at the Senior High School level in order to gain requisite knowledge in agriculture. 

After completing in 2013, his dream seemed to be influenced by unbearable circumstances.  Life became a hard struggle and he almost gave up and went to stay with his uncle in the capital city of Ghana in search of  a ‘white color job’. He toiled over and over but nothing good came out of his toils in the city.

As Richmond efforts yielded no better results for his life, he decided to recap his former desires. After a while, he realized the need to focus on his agriculture career, however, he needed advice and adequate knowledge to start up his own business. ‘I searched via the internet to see the success stories of the youths in agriculture and I was able to reach Nicholas Onwona’ he said. Richmond contacted Nicholas Onwona, and after several discussions, ‘I met a savior in search of refuge’ he concluded.

In 2015, Richmond benefited from the YEAR-AFRICA (Young Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Resolution-Africa) program which is aimed at inspiring the youths and providing them with adequate start up ideas and how to achieve success along the agriculture value chain. At long last, Richmond decided to go back to his rural community and its here that he met a man who rears rabbit in the community because he wanted to rear some.

The Rabbit story and the breeding stock

His entrepreneurship venture started with an amazing rabbit story. According to him, he used to serve a rabbit keeper by feeding the rabbits and cleaning their cages as well. He did this because he had no money to buy some for breeding. He narrates “One day, two females and one male rabbit were not in good health so the owner gave them to me to slaughter for food as part of his reward. On my way home, I thought of saving the animals rather than killing them. With this, I gave them paracetamol and provided feeds as well. Gradually, the trick worked even though the male couldn’t survive. I later constructed a cage and after two months, I sent the two females for crossing and here I am today with over 100 matured rabbits.’ And alas! Richard was able to get his breeding stock from these weak females and now he has over 100 rabbits both males and females. To him, this is grace.‘It is like gaining something from nothing’ he adds.

His next mission is to produce rice, however, when the market is good, he is looking forward to furthering his education to the tertiary level. He explains that there are available avenues for the youths to achieve success in life and these can be realised greatly when one has the desire and passion for agriculture and with consistent patience and determination, success will be achieved.

Richmond final message to other youths is simple; “He who has patience gets what he wants and even though life is full of difficulties, you can still get what you want when you work towards it”

You can reach Richmond Azilah at +233248638369 or on Facebook ( facebook.com//Ricmond Azilah)