It’s that Agric call again

September 7, 2017
Source: thebftonline.com l Ghana
It’s that Agric call again

“I predict that the next few years will see agriculture emerge fully from poverty and subsistence to become the next big booming business sector of Africa, with entrepreneurs, financiers, inventors and innovators all gathering round a honey pot of bankable projects, programmes and opportunities.

After all, who eats copper? And who drinks oil? Africans need to become producers and creators, and not just consumers, in the fast-moving enterprising business of food.”

That was a genuine and passionate expression by Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in his recent article to the B&FT to drum home the need for managers of the continent to build their economies around agriculture.

About 60% of Africa’s population is involved in farming, yet they account for less than one seventh of the continent’s GDP, and African agricultural yield is the lowest in the world.

Africa is endowed with 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land and huge reserves of water; Sub-Saharan Africa also has 10% of the world’s oil reserves, 40% of its gold, and up to 90% of its chromium and platinum.

This means that the continent has been sitting on its wealth for far too long even though the fact still remains that economic diversification and lasting wealth creation begins with a vibrant agriculture sector that is largely hinged on a relatively youthful workforce.

The time has come for African governments to take agriculture seriously to create the wealth and jobs that the teeming unemployed youth of the continent are yearning for so desperately.

On the local front, government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative is seen to be akin to this noble call but according to the AfDB boss, exploiting the huge socio-economic potential of agriculture should be embraced by all and sundry across the continent.

For agricultural transformation more generally, the African Development Bank has committed US$24 billion to agriculture over the next 10 years, with a sharp focus on food self-sufficiency and agro-industrialisation.

Over the past few years, the bank has been able to bring about a comprehensive re-evaluation of the potentially enormous role of agriculture in the transformation of Africa, and the AGRF has been a critical factor in the shared objective with the Bank of bringing about the green revolution in Africa.

We share in Dr. Adesina’s assertion that Africa’s first tranche of billionaires could be springing up from the farming and food sectors but we want to stress that the journey to that course must start from now.

 

GES must stand up to the test!

Some disgruntled parents and guardians on Tuesday besieged the premises of the Education Ministry to express their frustration over the non-placement of their wards in their preferred schools.

The aggrieved parents, some of whom had come from as far as Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region, are protesting anomalies in the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) which is the electronic platform that distributes Junior High School graduates into Senior High Schools across the country.

It has been more of a public outcry ever since the placement list was released by the Ghana Education Service about a week ago. Students and parents alike are fuming over the unreliability of the online platform to check their postings while others are yet to be placed in their school of choice.

A statement from the deputy Education Minister in charge of SHS and TVET, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, indicates that his ministry has extended the deadline for the self-placement.

The statement further stated that the CSSPS and the National Information and Technology Agency were working closely to improve the accessibility to the placement website and to rectify all anomalies associated with the online placement.

This has been an age long problem that arises year-on-year and the B&FT sees it to be a test that the GES must stand up to and tackle it once and for all.

The CSSPS is a computer programme designed for placing candidates in SHSs. It was introduced in 2005 after two years of piloting to replace the manual system.

The overall objective of this computerised system has been to fully automate school placement process in order to reduce human errors and to promote efficiency and fairness in the selection and placement of students in SHSs in the country.

It is a very innovative way of school selection and placement that is supposed to offer relief and convenience to students and their parents but the beauty of the exercise is being marred by such technical hitches and something must be done about it.