Agric sector more crucial than ever – Minister

… as he launches 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr. Nurah Gyiele, has said there is a need to increase both public and private sector investments in the agriculture sector if the country is to sustain growth of the sector – which until last year had been performing poorly.

The sector in 2016 recorded a 3 percent growth, whereas figures provided by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show growth recorded in that sector for 2017 was 8.4 percent.

Dr. Gyiele – speaking at the launch of the 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition event in Accra organised by Agrihouse Foundation – said increasing both public and private capital in agriculture will generate significant gains in productivity, employment and rural poverty reduction.

He attributed the agriculture sector’s growth recorded last year to President Akufo-Addo’s determination to make agriculture the engine of growth and job creation in Ghana.

The minister noted that the purpose of generating significant gains in productivity, employment and rural poverty reduction is in line with the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy which is currently making strides.

Dr. Gyiele said it is for this reason that government welcomes the support and contributions from organisations such as USAID’s Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) to the ongoing national effort to develop the agriculture sector and sustain its growth.

Launching the event, Dr. Gyiele lauded the efforts of Agrihouse Foundation for holding this year’s annual agribusiness in Northern Ghana, where agricultural growth would help immensely in government’s poverty reduction drive in that part of the country.

Speaking at the event’s launch, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation – Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said the pre-harvest event ties in so perfectly into the Government’s Planting for Food and Job Campaign, as its creates the most appropriate marketplace for businesses to identify new opportunities, discuss deals and forge partnerships.

“The bottom-line is for businesses to gain access to markets; buyers to identify sellers, negotiate for good competitive pricing; and also serve as an avenue for over 1,000 farmers to gather annually and discuss the season’s outlook on production and identify critical policies to support competitive marketing and establish enduring business relationships,” she added.

She reiterated the need for “agribusiness to influence transformation with a heightened focus on public private partnership (PPP) and investment opportunities which will raise the bar in creating an action-driven blueprint for an increasingly sustainable agriculture module – thus the theme ‘Transforming Agribusiness in Northern Ghana: The future starts now’.

On his part, Danquah Addo-Yobo-Managing Director of YARA, bemoaned the exclusion of finance when it came to the agribusiness chain.

He added that when it comes to the agribusiness chain, focus is placed on the farmer, supplier, processor and consumer – but it is, however, important to factor-in finance to enable the agribusiness chain to work.

“It is important that we start to see financing as a critical part of the agribusiness value chain,” he said.

The event is slated to take place from the 3-5 October, 2018, at the Tamale Sports Stadium, and is designed to assist farmers and agri-business to expand their businesses.

Dignitaries present at the launch included Dr. Emmanuel Dormond, USAID Chief of Party ADVANCE; Pearl Ackah, Private Sector Specialist of USAID; Danquah Addo-Yobo, Managing Director of YARA; and Ronald Strikker, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana.