Mr. Dawarnoba Baeka, the Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, has lamented Ghana’s inability to take advantage of her huge farming potential.
He made this observation during the sod-cutting ceremony of Eden Tree Company, an industry that produced fresh vegetables and fruits, on the Spintex Road, Tema.
Mr. Baeka said Ghana was eight times bigger than the Netherlands, and had more than half of that European country’s was below sea level, yet their agricultural story was a wonderful one to tell.
He wondered why Ghana, which was rich in agricultural land, imported vegetables from the Netherlands.
“Where then is the land for them to farm on? Part of the year is covered with snow, yet they are able to produce vegetables and send to us in Ghana,” he said.
Mr Kwame Kpomasi, an Eden Tree out grower, observed that Ghanaian governments were discouraging urban and peri-urban farming.
He said they were constantly driven from their farms because the lands around the capital cities were always allocated to estate developers who spread bricks and mortar everywhere.
“I would therefore plead with government to allocate specific places for us to farm,” he said.
Mr. Thierry Van Helden, a Representative of the Netherland Ambassador to Ghana, said the success story of the Netherlands hinged on the collaboration between the public sector, the government, the universities, the private sector, and civil society.
“They have to come together to create a vibrant sector. The government needs to invest and create an enabling environment; look at issues of fertilizers, land, etc. They should introduce much more enforcement of the law so that farmers don’t get cheated,” he said.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Van Helden said government should make preferential policies for farmers to grow their products and special incentives for people to take up farming.
He also asked universities in Ghana to work closely with farmers and private companies “so that research done in the universities actually ends up in the farms and not on the shelves.”
Mrs. Catherine Krobo Edusei Benson, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eden Tree Company, said there was the need to get more farmers “so I am really looking forward to this planting for food initiative, that it takes off, that farmers grow more.”
Mrs. Benson said “agriculture was a hard sector to go into. “We do not have the implements to work with; I mean today we are still using the hoe and the cutlass. So it would be very difficult for a school leaver to go into farming unless they have the passion for it.”