President John Mahama has said Ghana can reduce its balance of payment by about $1.5 billion annually by merely eating what the country’s farmers grow, instead of importing those same things.
Speaking on the theme: “Eat what you grow” at the 30th National Best Farmers Day awards ceremony in Sefwi Wiawso in the Western region, President Mahama said sticking strictly to the mantra will promote economic growth.
“It will save Ghana $1.5 billion in import bills and reduce our balance of payment,” he explained.
According to him, Ghana currently exports about $13 billion worth of goods and imports about $15 billion worth of items.
Apart from the economic benefits of eating what the country grows, President Mahama said there are a lot of health benefits to be derived from eating the many fresh and nutritious produce churned out by Ghana’s farmers every year, instead of consuming canned foods imported from the West, which cause cancer.
He said investments in agriculture can also help Ghana reduce poverty since more than 50 percent of Ghanaians are involved in farming.
Speaking about some of the challenges facing agriculture in Ghana, President Mahama said relying on rain-fed agriculture was a gamble. He said Government is aiming at irrigating more lands, investing more into mechanised farming, moving away from the hoe-and-cutlass type of farming and using more technology.
The president also identified limited access to financial services and inefficient post-harvest management as some of the problems in the agricultural sector which the Government is tackling. The President noted at the ceremony that agriculture contributed about 21 percent to the country’s GDP in 2013.