Stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector are calling on government to as a matter of urgency treat the sector as an industry, a move they say is critical to sustainability of the sector amid fears of global food insecurity.
According to them, for the agric sector to fully assume its role as bedrock of the economy and lead recovery efforts from the devastation unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, there must be deliberate efforts to disconnect the sector from politics.
They made the call on Wednesday at the 3Business Agribusiness Dialogue themed ‘Converting global food crisis into an opportunity to produce and feed the world’.
Calling for a decoupling of politics from the sector and reimagining it as an industry capable of leading the country’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts, a former Advisor behind Nigeria’s Rice production success, Abraham Dwumah Oddom said: “We need not look at agriculture as a developmental item so that politicians can be playing with it. We need to situate it as an industry that depends on its capital and investment to thrive. What government has to do is set up an enabling environment.
“We must disconnect the agricultural sector from politics. We have not treated agriculture as an industry by itself, but rather taken it as a development item. We need to as a state imagine something out of agriculture and design, and when we execute it we will come out of where we are – always using agriculture as a political tool,” he stated.
The 2018 National Best Farmer, James Boateng, added that Ghana needs to scale-up its agricultural production through the application of technology.
“I don’t know why we can’t grow tomatoes and onions in Ghana to the extent that we buy from Burkina Faso. We have issues with logistics. We need to look at our inputs. Ghana in 2019 did quite well in terms of inputs-provision, and in turn our maize production increased,” he stated.
Meanwhile, former Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani, is advocating for weaning farmers off subsidies.
He observed that even though subsidies are good to create demands for inputs, too much has the tendency to collapse private sector participation in agriculture.
“If we don’t wean them off, the sector cannot be sustainable. It’s a business. Farming is a business.
“We have to be very deliberate in imagining our agricultural policy. We must embed this into a market policy. We need to have a market to farm policy; and that market must not only be a domestic market but also external market,” he said.
3Business Dialogue on Agribusiness is a thought-leadership programme organised by the Business Desk of Media General to create the right platform for progressive conversations by the best brains on how Ghana can reverse the rising cost of food, as well as take advantage of the global food crisis and convert it into an opportunity to feed itself and also the world.