At the back of the recent re-launch of the government’s flagship agricultural programme Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Phase 2, Agrihouse Foundation – one of Ghana’s foremost agriculture growth facilitator, has let out a press release, re-emphasising the place of the private sector in leading a partnering drive to make Ghana food secured.
Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, who heads one of Ghana’s foremost agric sector facilitating organisation, Agrihouse Foundation, is underscoring the place of the private sector in leading a partnering charge in invigorating and driving growth in the agricultural sector.
“If we appreciate the role of agriculture in the overall growth of a nation’s economy as a dependable contributor to the GDP growth and as a proven measure in keeping poverty away, we would realise that the sector, by its potential ranks among the most valuable sectors in any economy,”
Ms. Akosa asserted: “Of course, this is in addition to the immense reward the sector offers to any investor – be it the government or a private sector investor”.
The professionally prolific and dynamic lady who is a farmer and a passionate agric facilitator herself, contends that even if an evaluation should be made of how her own organisation has impacted and influenced the growth dynamics of the sector, the outcome of the evaluation would definitely attest to the claim that the private sector could achieve a significant turn-around in the contribution of the sector to the economy in the area of revenue and job creation once the environment is conducive.
“I am not holding brief for anybody,” Ms. Akosa says. “But if government estimates that its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) has provided significant number of employment, especially for the youth, I don’t know the figures but without contesting that claim, I’d tell you that Agrihouse Foundation – from its founding to this present date – has provided over 6,000 jobs, especially for women.” These jobs, she goes on to explain, were created through training and equipping of women farmers and agripreneurs.
According to the foundation, the organisation has provided long-term market opportunities to “over 297,000 farmers, processors and agribusinesses in the northern part of Ghana and beyond; boosted the capacity of farmer-based organisations, farmer groups and smallholder farmers through tailor-made modules. The foundation continues to conduct farmer-to-farmer training and demonstrations, and has already established a vegetable training and demonstration centre in Bamvim, “which is continuously training youths and women in seedling and nursery management”.
Ms. Akosa, who has numerous awards to her credit, says: “So, being that there is a whole lot to be done, our work is an ongoing activity focused on contributing immeasurably to Ghana’s attainment of food security and the eradication of poverty, with particular interest in empowering our hardworking women folks/peasant farmers in our rural communities.
“That is why, on our part, we jump at any opportunity that would enrich and broaden the knowledge of our farmers and agripreneurs and, in addition, give them a global perspective to agriculture and how much it can do to grow a nation and create sustainable wealth through best practices.
“For instance, we have just concluded agreements with an American entity, GhaNeb LLC, to have Ghanaian farmers, agripreneurs, investors, private businesses and government officials attend what has been described as America’s largest outdoor agricultural show that attracts vendors and participants from around the world.
The event comes off September 10 – 14, 2023 and a Ghanaian delegation will be attending to take advantage of the prime exposure to register for participation.
“Among other impactful activities in the tour, there will be a meeting of the delegation of Nebraska agricultural interests and officials with Ghanaian businesses and officials aimed at developing relationships and fostering business between Ghana and Nebraska,” Ms. Akosa said.
Coming from a long dating experience in facilitating global interactions and knowledge acquiring experiences for Ghanaian farmers and agribusinesses beginning from her days as the Co-Founder of FAGRO – a popular food and agricultural exhibitions programme in the early 2000’s), this current Nebraska window of opportunities comes as another familiar turf to nurture Ghana’s agric industry.
“With about 12 well targeted and successful agriculture growth facilitating programmes from our stable and the encouraging results and feedbacks we have been receiving every year, especially from our flagship annual Preharvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference event, I am confident that government remaining consistent in faithfully enforcing enabling policies and interventions, Ghana’s agricultural sector target can be met and even surpassed with the unencumbered participation of the private sector.”
With the PFJ Phase ll programme, government expects to create job opportunities that would have the capacity to enrol “1.2 million farmers” in the first year of its operation, with the projection that in the next four years, the programme would record “an annual average of two hundred and ten thousand (210,000) new farm-related jobs”.
“That is a heartwarming plan that reemphasises the fact that government appreciates the place of agriculture in the mix of the nation’s growth variables,” Ms. Akosa observes.
“However, like I expressed earlier,” the release quoted Ms. Akosa as saying, “we, in Agrihouse, are very passionate about empowering our peasant and rural farmers who are the foundation of Ghana’s agriculture. And while supporting government’s seeming perseverance in seeing that agriculture is positioned on an irreversible growth momentum despite the challenges of the programme’s first phase, we are hoping that relevant policies and adequate enablement that allows the private sector’s vigorous and responsible partnership must also be factored in among government’s list of responsibilities to make this phase a resounding success.”