The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker has called the government to be bold and cut down on the huge food imports and produce locally.
According to Mr. Strikker, Ghana has the green lands and skill set to produce most of the food its import like rice, sugar, frozen chicken and oil.
The Ambassador stated that, agricultural investments like the Planting for Food and Jobs, 1D-1F, distribution of fertilizers, mechanising and making Agric attractive to especially the youth, would promote trade and economic growth as it employs almost half of the population and contributes to one-fifth (1/5) of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ghana’s large food import bill has been called into question by its developmental partners and presently amounts to $2 million a year, a development which will affect the country’s economy without a quick change in policy.
At the launch of the first Value Added Agriculture Expo in West Africa, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Striker said to achieve the Presidents vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid”, boosting agriculture was essential.
“The government of Ghana accords high priority to making agriculture a top sector in Ghana, initiatives like Planting for Foods and Jobs and the prominent position of agriculture in the 2018 budget is proof.”
The Value-Added Agriculture Expo in West Africa being organised by Reed Exhibition and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with support from other organisations in Ghana is expected to take place in Accra, Ghana from August 2-4.
The Minister of State in Charge of Agriculture, Dr. Gyiele Nurah speaking at the launch said, the Planting for Food and Jobs which started with a seed capital of GH¢560 million had empowered about 200,000 farmers by providing them with fertilisers, improved seeds and other farming inputs.
He said it was the intension of the government to get Ghanaians to embrace agriculture once again, as a full-time business to create more jobs and have enough for industry and export.
But Dr. Nurah stressed that, the event is pointing to value addition in the production of raw materials saying ‘this means we must move from the era of shipping valuable raw materials away for nothing’.
He had the assurance that, the expo would bring out the best in the agric industry and create a good platform for exchange of ideas, networking among industry players and foster business relationships and partnerships.