Efforts to bridge the gap between academia and industry is underway, with the launch of the first ultimate farmer reality challenge (UCFR).
In an interview, the Institutional Coordinator for UFRC, Samuel Ofori explained that the project is being introduced to address the situation of where agricultural graduates, or graduates from related disciplines, not going into agribusiness enterprise development after graduation.
Ofori identified this as one of the major reasons we have under developed agriculture sector in the country and Africa at large.
“There was a survey and we realised that we needed to do something; so we came up with this UFRC, which is an agribusiness reality challenge,” he said.
This is to help address the barriers to the graduates not going into agribusiness.
Most pressing barriers to graduate agribusiness enterprise development include; lack of finance, material resources, and low investor confidence in agriculture, as well as the wrong perception about farming enterprise.
Ofori revealed that, some chiefs have been pulled into the project to help in releasing some parcels of land.
Currently, over 10,000 acres of land have been released and ready for the project. This would serve as land banks for the agribusiness project, where graduates who come out from the reality challenge can use.
“So through this project, land acquisition problems for graduate agribusiness are solved,” he noted.
The project will bring on board academicians, who will ensure the enforcement of curricula changes and also incorporate into the curriculum of agriculture based tertiary institutions agribusiness incubation models.
This will help test the business plans of graduates.
“We want to create start-up opportunities through this reality challenge.”
The winner is expected to receive a grant, which will serve as a seed capital of US$ 25,000.
The reality challenge is open to all tertiary institutions in the country.
By Joshua W. Amlanu