Agriculture Produce
Agriculture Produce

Key Stakeholders at a dialogue have identified comprehensive and coherent national policy as an imperative to creating enabling environment for sustainable agribusiness development.

The national dialogue, on promoting investment in food and agriculture, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Government of Ghana in collaboration with the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA) and Civil Society, afforded stakeholders a platform to discuss and identify investment opportunities to provide resources for financing agriculture along the value chain.

Agriculture financing remains one most important challenge facing the sector in Africa. According to foresight estimates, an average net annual financial investment of US$11 billion would be needed in agriculture and agro-industries to meet the projected food security demands in Africa by 2050.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile Gabriel, observed that agriculture had been a neglected sector in Africa in terms of allocation of resources. “The thrust of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is about the imperatives to prioritize agriculture in development policies and strategies.”

History is replete with evidence that countries that had prioritized agriculture successfully transformed their economies, so CAADP and the Malabo Declaration are all about assisting African countries to tread the same path.

Haile Gabriel stressed on the need to for agriculture to be seen as a business, “engaging in commercial agriculture is a business in itself.” Emphasizing that evidence indicates that returns to investments in agriculture could be even higher than in many other alternatives.

“It also has a high potential to create and expand decent jobs in agribusiness/agro-industries, and reduce poverty and food insecurity.” He stated.

Haile Gabriel further noted that considering public pronouncements by state officials and available strategic policy documents, the Government of Ghana regards agriculture as a priority sector. “As a symbolic gesture to demonstrate leadership the government should look at increasing budgetary allocation to help unlock some of the structural bottlenecks as well as leverage private investment.”

A statement from Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture delivered by Collins Ntim, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said agriculture occupies a central position in the Ghanaian economy as it provides enormous opportunities to create wealth, jobs and enhance livelihoods.

The agriculture sector has seen significant growth in recent years as a result of the increased activity, the effect of which is the provisional agricultural sector GDP growth rate from 2.9% in 2016 to 6.1% in 2017 using rebased figures.

According to the Deputy Minister, the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, has injected dynamism in the agriculture sector, further creating opportunities for private sector investment throughout the agriculture value chain.

The private sector, particularly Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), represent about 85% of businesses in Ghana and contribute about 70% to GDP, while offering employment to women, youth as well as low skilled labour.

There is therefore the need for development partners to continue to collaborate with Government, the private sector and civil society to mobilise the necessary resources to modernise and transform our agriculture sector.

The event brought together about 100 participants from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), Agribusiness Unit of the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), farmer organisations, and private sector.

During the three panel discussions, many challenges and opportunities were deliberated upon, including the need for greater outreach on the part of government to share their many initiatives, to further engage private sector in policy development and implementation, and to encourage the youth to get involved in agriculture as a business opportunity.

The event which had as its theme “Promoting Investment in Food and Agriculture; Recognising the Gains Made and the Future Perspectives by Government and Private Sector.”

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