The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has said the 4000 unemployed graduates of agricultural colleges in the country will be given jobs in 2018.
This revelation followed a picket on Wednesday staged by the students who have been without jobs since 2011, to demand that their allowances be restored just as that of nurses was recently restored.
Sector Minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto had told the students on Wednesday that “cabinet has its own procedure for considering such demands, and I can assure you that your demand is seriously being considered.”
In a subsequent interview, the Minister’s Press Secretary, Issah Alhassan, said: “For the past six years, no student from the Agric College has ever been employed into the public service. Now the Minister has told them emphatically that cabinet has agreed that from next year, almost 4, 000 students would be automatically employed into the public service.”
“We have a backlog of over 4, 000 students at home that have never been employed. The Minister has ensured that Cabinet has approved that all of them would be employed. We need them, the issue is that, if we had enough human resources in terms of extension services, probably we’d have solved the Planting for Food and Jobs deficits and armyworm issues earlier than what was witnessed. There are so many plans in place to get students that have completed and those about to complete automatically employed.”
“We’ve met with them about three times and indicated our commitment towards addressing their grievances. The Ministry can’t just say we are restoring their allowances, it has to get Cabinet clearance. We have tried to make the students understand that we are very much committed to addressing their grievances. This must be done in a very diplomatic manner,” he explained to Accra-based Citi FM.
He also dismissed claims that agriculture students were being discriminated against by the government as far as the restoration of the allowances were concerned. “It’s not discrimination. We’ve shown them all the various stages we’ve reached as far as this issue is concerned. We are not resting on this; the Minister has never rested on this. This afternoon, he reiterated his commitment because the leadership of the students are aware of the progress we have made as far as this issue is concerned. As to whether we’ve attached too much importance to nurse trainees, I can’t speak to that.”