Mr. Joe Mensah, Country Manager and Vice President of Kosmos Energy, has stated that the agriculture sector has the key to unlock wealth for the country if it receives more innovative approaches through information communication technology.
The sector, he says, has the potential to resolve several challenges facing the country, from unemployment, to food security and improved incomes, among others.
To help unlock this potential, Mr. Mensah said, Kosmos Energy is rolling out its flagship social investment product under the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), and is emboldened by the government’s recent policy on planting for food and jobs project.
The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), he explained, was created by Kosmos Energy Ghana in 2016 to help Ghana build a brighter future by tackling some of the country’s key challenges.
“The KIC begins its work by choosing an area of focus from one of Ghana’s many different sectors. In its first year, the KIC is turning its attention to agriculture – the largest sector in Ghana’s economy – where it will pursue and nurture the development of market-based solutions that address various development challenges,” he said.
“At the brainstorming session of the KIC team to figure out what to do, we came to the concept that, we need to infuse technology into agriculture, since the intersection of that is what attracts the youth in to the space,” he said.
Mr. Mensah said conscious efforts need be made to harness the potential of agriculture, which used to be the main backbone of the economy until the discovery of oil, among others.
“In the past, the agriculture sector used to constitute about 70 % of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but has currently dropped below 50 % and we need to bring it up as a nation,” he said.
“Once we energise the youth to take up this very important space, it will ripple positively, and will not only help the economy, but ensure food security, exporting, and getting people employed,” he added.
According to Mr. Mensah, due to the huge potential, the KIC agriculture module is attracting banks, who are calling to participate in the project.
Many of the KIC graduates who did not make it to the final stage have actually developed skills that they did not have before.
He said at the end of the first challenge, Kosmos is overwhelmed by the success chalked by the two winners.
“The two winners have performed beyond our expectation. Our focus is that after successfully wining the challenge, KIC is to put the two companies – Tro Tro Tractor and Galani – into incubation for 12 months’ period, after which they are expected to get their businesses running.”
“But only few days in the incubator, I can tell you that the two are already in business, providing solutions to farmers and signing up people,” he said.
“It is important to say that, our focus on agriculture under the KIC is not for the short term, and as we go through the path and learn lessons…and whatever the capital required, there is a commitment all across the company to make it happen,” he said.
“We saw the potential and took agriculture as the first sector to work with, when we run this and it becomes autopilot, where everybody is signing and it is running on its own, we can pick another sector in education, health, among others,” Mr. Mensah said.