By Mary Dompreh
The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association has tasked itself to remind the Akuffo Addo administration of its campaign promises to prioritize agriculture production in the country. President of the group, Mr. Richard Frimpong who elaborated on this in an interview with Rite news on Monday noted that practical steps were not being taken to realize the potentials of the sector as the backbone of the economy, adding that everything has been reduced to ‘only talk.’
‘As we always say agriculture is the backbone of the country but when you go to the agric sector, the situation is all about talk,’ Mr. Frimpong decried. This according to him is what prompted GARDJA to send their request to the president.
Though Mr. Frimpong was convinced that agriculture boasts of a huge potential in the sector, he nevertheless believes that ‘there are a lot of things we need to do for agriculture to become the best.’ This he noted must be taken up if the new administration’s pledge to galvanize stakeholders to make agriculture lucrative a reality.
The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) it its letter to the president stated that it is about time that government used its vast purchasing power in the interest of the Ghanaian farmer over foreign producers.
The Association therefore wants the newly inaugurated government to issue a directive it suggested should read: “Government funds must only be used to buy foodstuff from local producers unless the capacity to produce is non-existent.”
This was contained in the letter signed by Richmond Frimpong, President; Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Policy Director and Ernest Kofi Adu, Secretary General of the Association. The Association urged government to ensure that such a directive was introduced at Senior High Schools and the School Feeding Programme to make the difference.
It added that what was even more frightening was that majority of the foods imported were foods which could be produced locally including rice, adding that the country this year imported 54 percent of the total amount of rice we consumed.
The group also noted that the story is the same with the poultry industry as government continues to heavily import chicken for consumption at the expense of the local poultry industry which was struggling to stay afloat.
GARDJA also touched on other issues such transportation difficulties farmers faced and the absence of markets which force traders to sell produce at giveaway prices.