The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is calling on the Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA) to change the focus of agriculture in the country, to move beyond food security and focus more on supplying strategic raw materials to industry.
The AGI noted that the current situation wherein agriculture is more focused on providing food crops for domestic consumption in order to ensure food security is not sustainable, and must be reconsidered to focus on industrial demand.
Chief Executive Officer-AGI, Seth Twum Akwaboah, speaking on the theme ‘The impact of COVID-19 on supply chain operations and its effect on national development, business and enterprises’ as part of activities to commemorate the World Supply Chain Day celebration, reiterated that the pandemic has really had a dreadful impact on the whole value chain and it will take over a year to bounce back.
Mr. Akwaboah opined that programmes such as Planting for Food and Job (PFJ) should rather be focusing on investing in large-scale production for industries in strategic sectors of the economy, to make raw materials available for all year-round production and sustenance of such sectors without being overly-dependent on foreign supply.
“We have been holding deliberations with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; we think that the ministry has to invest in raw material production to some selected critical service provision industries, and put in place large irrigation systems that work to ensure all year-round production of raw materials for the selected essential service production industries,” he said.
Furthermore, he reiterated that One District, One Factory (1D1F) will be a failure if there is no regular and consistent supply of raw materials to feed the industries.
“For instance, when the president of Ghana said we should start producing our own hand-sanitisers, within a short period there was shortage in production and prices were going up because the raw material needed, alcohol, was in short supply; only a few of the alcohol manufacturing companies had enough in stock.
“This tells us that as a country we are overly-dependent on imports and it is time for us to strategise, reorganise ourselves and make sure that certain essentials critical for our survival are not overly-dependent on imports,” he added.
Mr. Akwaboah further emphasised that producing raw materials for industries locally will be less expensive compared to imports, and better position the country to compete on the continent – adding that it will further hedge the economy against unforeseen circumstances like that experienced with COVID-19 pandemic.