The Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of horticulture has lauded the critical role played by the agricultural sector in the country’s development.
Hon George Oduro said the sector while playing a key role in the country’s economic transformation has been instrumental in the provision of jobs to the chunk of the country’s active population, thanks to figures from the Ghana Statistical Services.
‘It is evident that agriculture holds the fortunes of Ghana’s economic transformation, job creation and sustained food security as it employs close to 45% of the active population, majority of whom are women,’ he said.
The deputy minister was speaking as Special Guest Speaker at the 3rd edition of the Rite FM agric Forum at the Ensign College of Public Health at Kpong in the Eastern Region.
The forum themed, ‘The Role of Technology in Improving Agricultural Productivity and Livelihoods,’ aimed at producing a conducive environment for stakeholders and farmers to interact, share ideas and chart a way forward for the agric sector.
Successive agricultural development strategies over the years, according to Honourable Oduro have focused on modernizing the sector and positioning it as a major vehicle for the structural transformation of the economy through its effective linkage to industry.
He was however doubtful that this will be achieved if the necessary measures required in the food production value chain such as the adoption of drought resistant crop varieties were not applied.
‘Achieving this entails significant improvements in productivity enhancing measures along the value chain, including the adoption of high yielding, pest, disease and drought resistant crop varieties, improved livestock breeds and feed; mechanization services, modern irrigation practices; efficient extension services; upgrading skills of all actors in the agricultural value chain; and access to inputs, markets and finance,’ Honourable Oduro underscored.
These requirements, he added informed the decision of the government to introduce the Nana Akuffo Addo led government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign to increase productivity.
He said it was in line with these requirements that the government under the leadership of his Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo upon assumption of office in 2017, introduced the planting for Food and Jobs campaign to increase food productivity and production for security, raw material supply for industry, create jobs and contribute to improvement in livelihoods of many team youth and women
The deputy minister in identifying other related interventions needed to catalyze the transformation process noted that increased mechanization services, investment in irrigation, promotion of industrial crop production and processing and livestock development, particularly poultry where the country currently imports over $500 million of chicken which is an obvious import substitution potential worth exploiting, were obvious areas worth paying attention to.
Over three hundred farmers on Friday partook in the 3rd Rite FM organized Agric Forum at Kpong. The event was aimed at creating a conducive platform to provide the grounds for relevant inputs for the development of agriculture.
In all, a number of stakeholders from the sector including leaders of Farmer-Based Organizations, (FBOs), district agric directors, business-minded farmers, the youth in agriculture, agriculture processors, investors, Agri-preneurs among others partook in the day’s event.