Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, says the Israeli paid internships for agriculture students will be cancelled should absconsion of students continue.
He said the initiative was to enable selected agriculture students to acquire modern skills in the value chain to help pass on the skills to others when they return after 11 months and not to escape in search of greener pastures.
Dr Akoto, who was speaking at a brief ceremony to bid farewell to 200 agriculture students in Accra to Israel on the programme, noted that although all the cohorts had been praised for their hard work, a few decided to abscond after their programme.
He said, apart from the exposure and skills transfer, they were paid good money for the work on the farms every month.
“This development is not good for Ghana’s image and the country risks losing its slot to such actions. This programme is of great benefit to the development of the sector,” he said.
The Minister said as part of measures to curtail the challenge, the beneficiaries would be required to sign a bond with a guarantor and parents who would be liable to pay GHC 7000 should the students abscond after the completion of the programme.
He said participating schools whose students absconded would be blacklisted from the programme.
The government of Ghana through MoFA and the Israeli government through AgroStudies of Israel reached an agreement to offer Ghanaian agriculture students training in modern practices, especially in the areas of GreenHouse vegetable production, to increase local production.
Under the agreement, the programmes, which started with 50 students in 2018 had increased to 200 in 2022 recruited from six tertiary institutions, including Kwadaso Agriculture College, University for Development studies, University of Ghana and University of Cape Coast.
While in Israel, the graduates will be attached to cooperative farms called Kibbutz, where they will work on the field for five days and be in the classroom for a day.
The Ghanaian graduates will be joined by other beneficiaries from other parts of Africa, Asia and South America.
Mr Lawoetey Tettey, the Human Resource Director of MoFA, said the internship was a life changing experience and urged the students to open up and acquire knowledge, skills and return to support the agriculture sector.
“We are now trying to modernise Ghana’s agriculture sector and Israel is a country with capacity and reputation with regard to agriculture,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Asante, a beneficiary from Kwadaso Agriculture Collage, thanked the government for the opportunity and assured that they would return armed with farming technologies to help develop the country.