Trent-in-Ghana graduate Vozbeth Kofi Azumah is “making farming sexy” in Africa, according to a recent New York Times article. Mr. Azumah owns three businesses, breeding snails and bees. He also leads a nonprofit: a 35-acre maize farm in the Agotime-Adedome district of Ghana that is engaging more than 40 members of the local community.
Mr. Azumah is one of a few emerging “agripreneurs” challenging the stigma of farming, which is seen as a sign of poverty. His aim is to support the development of rural agriculture beyond subsistence farming, to address food insecurity and unemployment.
“When I finished school, I wanted to use my education to help develop the economies of rural communities,” Mr. Azumah said. “Many university educated youth stay in big cities and look for the white collar jobs, but that means the rural communities age, and thus struggle to perform physical labour of farming, a common livelihood in these areas.”
Shortly after launching the community project, Mr. Azumah went back to the University of Cape Coast, where he completed his undergraduate degree, this time also taking part in the Trent-in-Ghana (TIG) program, offered by the Department of International Development Studies at Trent. Through lectures, field-trips, and work placements in Cape Coast and Tamale, Ghana, TIG equipped him with the practical knowledge and methodology in community development that is helping his farming project.
“Trent-in-Ghana transformed my organization,” Mr. Azumah said. “The opportunity to engage with teachers in central Ghana regions, and travel to the north with a team taught me about community development, traditions, the environment, food insecurity, and migration. I learned new participatory tools to engage community, to implement project, to monitor the project, and to assess the success of the project. The exposure and support from participating in the Trent-in-Ghana program helped me table a proposal and secure funding for the project.”
“My knowledge is not only benefitting me, but also the community and the people I work with in my organization,” Mr. Azumah said. “Now, we’re training people on the agriculture value chain, planting seed for maize and nurturing the land. I have become a role model in my community.”
TIG has been operating for over 20 years, providing students from Canada and Ghana the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about international development. Learn more about Trent-in-Ghana.