Accra, April 18, GNA – Ghana and Australia are to strengthen bilateral relations in agriculture to improve on the capacity of agriculture extension officers and research to harness productivity.

The Australian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, Ms Joanna Hewitt, who announced this in Accra on Wednesday, said the Australia is working directly with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to strengthen the capacity of farmer-based organisations through enhanced extension services.

She made this known during a roundtable with Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture to discuss the growing partnership between the two countries on agricultural productivity and food security.

Ms Hewitt said through the aid programme, Australia is partnering Ghana to provide a range of training opportunities and targeted technical assistance with focus on building the capacity of farmers.

Dr Samuel Kojo Dapaah, Chief Technical Advisor to the Minister, who narrated the progress made by the agriculture sector; said government had developed a medium term Agriculture Sector Investment plan to improve on the sector.

He said it was the operational plan for the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy.

Dr Dapaah said government had encouraged farmers to link ordinary agriculture to agri-business and ensured that they generate enough income for the sustainability of the sector.

He said areas the plan sought to address included, food security and emergency preparedness, increased growth in incomes, increased competitiveness and enhanced integration into domestic and international markets, sustainable management of land and environment, science and technology.

Mr Ahwoi, said when the country discovered oil, the perception was that agriculture would be marginalised, but that was false since the sector was the backbone of the economy.

He said another challenge facing the country was how to finance and translate agriculture research into practical farming activities.

Mr Ahwoi commended the Australian Government for the commitment to improve the agriculture sector in Ghana.

Ghanaian officials have benefited from a range of Australian Government training opportunities including MOFA.

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