The nation’s agriculture sector has come of age and needs a regulatory authority to strategically streamline activities for economic growth, Anthony Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana, has said.
According to him, the authority must be akin to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) or the National Communications Authority (NCA) and clothed with similar powers to enable it harness the full potential of the sector.
Mr. Morrison, speaking to the B&FT ahead of the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) to be held at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel on November 9-10, explained that the authority, among other things, would be able to coordinate all agricultural research done by various institutions and plot a pragmatic vision for the sector backed by prudent timelines and well monitored.
According to data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the agriculture sector was able to withstand shocks of the coronavirus pandemic and grew by 5.9 percent, whereas industry and services both grew at 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2019, an indication that, even with the many challenges faced by stakeholders, the sector holds the greatest economic potential for the nation.
For Mr. Morrison, the sector has seen some massive development in recent times (Planting for Food and Jobs among others), but its growth could have been exponential if it was treated as a trade rather than a venture to assure food security.
He told the paper that the introduction of an authority to oversee the production, sales and marketing of six major tree crops in the country (Crops Authority) is an action laudable but a limitation of the sector’s potential as there are many vested issues that go beyond the six crops to be regulated.
“We need to create the Ghana Agriculture Regulatory Authority, this has been long overdue. If you have this authority, you can now go ahead and create the Ghana Agriculture Information Management System. This can be used to coordinate the activities of all the research institutions connected to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
Agriculture is now a trade: from the seed, to the service, to the attraction of consultants, the chemicals, fertilizers, agro machinery, drones and sensors, technology, internet of things, everything that we do is trade: it is money, no longer a hobby. We need to regulate farming, we need to regulate and make it a big industry and we need to regulate it to boost the economy,” Mr. Morrison said.
He added that: “If we emphasize and concentrate on the agricultural sector, which has more than 10million connected to it directly or indirectly, according to the MOFA facts and figures. What are we waiting for to regulate the industry properly?”
The Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) is a gathering of Ghanaian business leaders to chart the path to economic prosperity. It is scheduled to take place on November 9 and 10, 2020 at the Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City, Accra. The event is on the theme: ‘Resetting the economy beyond COVID-19; Building economic resilience and self-sufficiency.’
It is designed to bring together over 500 local and international business leaders to dialogue and chart a clear path for Ghanaian businesses to hone the Ghanaian economy.
This year’s discussions will focus on several areas including energy, agriculture, entrepreneurship and innovation, banking and finance, and other areas crucial to the development of the economy of Ghana.