As part of measures to scale-up production and make Ghana a self-sufficient food producer, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) – in collaboration with the Israeli Embassy, has embarked on a training programme for food crop farmers that will build their capacity to use mechanised methods of farming.
The training programme is aimed at equipping Ghanaian youth with an existing agriculture related degree to acquire further knowledge in Greenhouse Technology, Drip Irrigation among others; and is also to strengthen the trade relationship between Ghana and Israel so as to bring more investors from Israel into the agric sector.
The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. George Oduro – speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by Integrity Magazine at Alisa Hotel, reiterated the need to embrace modern innovative systems of farming as exhibited by countries like Israel to scale-up production; and also commended the Ambassador of Israel for the great work she has done to help reform agriculture in Ghana.
“In 2017, rice imports alone stood at US$331.2million, meanwhile Ghana has 69 percent arable land as compared to Israel which has only 20 percent.
“Greenhouse technology is a very efficient method of farming, which saves up to 60 percent water and 40 percent fertiliser.
“MoFA is pursuing the greenhouse village initiative especially for the youth. We currently have about 1,000 greenhouse inputs from Israel at the port – which will be given to interested youth at a subsidised price – in addition to two persons trained in greenhouses to assist with installation and ensure maximising their use,” he said.
The Ghana-Israel partnership is two-folds: the first phase is for about 100 people per intake to receive training at a training centre established at Dawhenya by Agritop, an Israeli company; and the second phase is for a selected number of those trained to further undergo an 11-month fully paid for training course in Israel.
The first group of 51 individuals are currently in Israel for further studies in greenhouse technology and other advanced ways of farming.
The Ambassador of Israel to Ghana, Shani Cooper-Zubida, speaking on the theme “Opportunities for Ghana-Israel business cooperation in agriculture innovation and technology’, indicated that Israel has less arable land and so has resorted to the use of technology in farming – which has made it self-sufficient in food production.
“Greenhouses give 6-times more production, less soil pollution and less use of pesticides; which makes it a more efficient way for farming to achieve greater yields.
“We already have Agritop Ghana Ltd. doing well in Ghana, and we want to bring in more Israeli enterprises that are into poultry technology, plant protection, seeds and feed production, among others.
“Ghana and Israel have been trading over a long while with trade figures in excess of millions of dollars, and we are looking forward to expanding this trade relations so that both countries can benefit more,” she said.
Editor in Chief and Publisher of Integrity Magazine, Rev. Kennedy Okosun, indicated that there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for prosperity and growth, hence it is apparent that establishing well-managed systems guided by principles is an effective way to ensure progress in crucial areas of the economy – which include agriculture, education, health care and security among others.
“What we have done today is bring government and businesses together, to give them content and information needed for promoting development and leapfrogging certain hindrances,” he said.
Dr. Oduro also noted that government through MoFA will engage private enterprises on Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements for providing warehouse infrastructure to the agriculture sector, in order to reduce post-harvest losses which results from lack of starage facilities.