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11.10.2005 Regional News

District assemblies asked to acquire farming land the youth

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Koforidua, Oct. 11, GNA - The Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr Sylvester Manu, has called on district assemblies to acquire land banks for mechanized and irrigation farming to create employment avenues for the youth.

According to him, plans had reached advanced stage for such project to take off in the Afram Plains by the government on pilot basis, which the assemblies could replicate in their areas.

Mr Manu was contributing to the topic: "Public Policy and Youth Unemployment", at a forum, organized by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Koforidua on Tuesday.

The forum, which was under Governance Issues Forum (GIF) Network, was on the theme: "Civic Participation in Poverty Reduction," attracted participants including Presiding Members, District Co-ordinating Directors and Planning Officers from the New Juaben Municipal, Yilo Krobo, West Akim, Akuapem South and Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district assemblies, the civil society and the media.

Mr Manu stressed the government's determination to tackle the youth unemployment crisis, saying it was to ensure qualitative human resource, as a solution to the phenomenon that, it selected human resource development as one of the three priorities for its current four-year term.

He said, as an agricultural-based economy, the government had plans to improve the sector to absorb most of the youth, who had the requisite training and equip them with inputs and funds for modern agricultural production, processing, storage and marketing.

Mr Manu who, however, noted the difficult land acquisition problem, urged the assemblies to acquire land banks and put part of their resources towards the provision of mechanized and irrigated agricultural production.

Dr Lee Tlou, a Research Fellow of the IDEG, explained that the Institute recognized that, finding a solution to the pervasive youth unemployment in the country was one of the critical issues, which required deliberative democratic approach, involving all the stakeholders.

According to her, since the youth formed about 33 per cent of the population and the unemployment rate was over 16 per cent, the Institute had decided since June, this year, to take up the issue with stakeholders in the five districts in the region under its GIF network, as part of a national consensual solution.

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