Kwesi Ahwoi

The Minister for Food and Agricultural, Kwesi Ahwoi has stated that cotton production in the country is rising due to government’s far reaching plans to protect and regulate the industry.

He said for the first time in several years, the industry saw a major revival since 40,000 farmers in 2011 cultivated 23, 000 hectors of cotton in the three Northern regions from a previous figure of 25,000 hectors.

Speaking at the Meet-the-press series in Accra on Tuesday, Mr. Ahwoi said lint cotton increased to 7,000 metric tons in 2011 from about 1,300mt previously.

This, he said, came about as a result of the private sector investment of about $15 million into the sector.

Mr. Ahwoi said, “We are working hard to make the cotton industry very productive in the north, just like how the cocoa industry has become productive and attractive in the southern part of the country”

Mr. Ahwoi said the Ministry is working around the clock to totally revamp the cotton industry to make it attractive to both local and foreign investors.

Touching on the agriculture’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in 2011, he said agriculture fell to the third place from its previous second position to service.

“This demonstrates that the economy has shifted from the primary sector agriculture to the secondary and tertiary sector (Services),” he added.

This, Mr. Ahwoi, said is evidence of a maturing economy.

He said Ghana now requires a conscious and sustained enabling environment to effectively link agriculture to industry through enhanced agribusiness.

In line with this, he said the Ministry is developing product-specific value chains for the sector.

“An Agribusiness Support Division has also been set up in the Ministry to advise investors in collaboration with GIPC on investment opportunities and provide technical support,” he noted.

Mr. Ahwoi added that Agribusiness development, through internal and external partnerships, is central to the G8 May, 2012 meeting, which Ghana and two other countries, Ethiopia and Tanzania had been invited.

 By cephas larbi

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