A peasant farmer on his farm
Although the country’s economy recorded a significant boost after just one year of oil production, other sectors, such as agriculture, which hitherto formed the backbone of the economy, did not show impressive results.
As a result, government has embarked on a number of initiatives to ensure that the country’s economy does not rely solely on the infant oil and gas sector.
One of such initiatives was a roundtable organized in Accra which brought together all stakeholders in the Agricultural sector to deliberate on how to revamp the sector with the introduction of new technologies and modern practices.
The purpose of the forum was also to explore the opportunities that existed in the sector to make it more attractive for private investment.
Addressing the participants, Vice President John Dramani Mahama, in an address read on his behalf, said government was involved, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other stakeholders, in fostering collaboration between the African Union and the World Bank Forum on the ‘Grow Africa Project’.
The objective of the project, he explained, was to stimulate greater private sector investments through concrete plans in order to support the creation of a business enabling environment for the private sector.
“Because of the significant impacts that agricultural growth can have on the development of the entire country, the government is investing in areas of the sector that are necessary to encourage robust investment from private sector partners,” he said.
He said government, through the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy and Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan, was addressing a number of factors aimed at enhancing productivity along value chains as well as providing small holder farmers with the tools and skills necessary to integrate themselves into supply chains.
Given the wide array of industries likely to be affected by the renewed attention to the sector, Mr. Mahama said, opportunities for investment would span from private commodity farms to private sector operators along the selected agriculture value chains including input suppliers, processors, traders, exporters, financial institutions, warehouse operators and transporters.
He said in addition to the new opportunities that would arise through the implementation of plans and programmes to revamp the agric sector, there were also series of ongoing projects, including the Export Market and Quality Assurance Project, the Northern Rural Growth Project and the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Project, which were already providing support to the sector.
With regard to infrastructure development, he said, government through the MIDA’s support has constructed a $2.5 million perishable cargo centre at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, expected to boost non-traditional exports by 400 per cent by 2015.
The Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Agyei, said government was in the process of resolving the energy crises which had, over the years, affected businesses in the country and expressed government’s commitment to creating the enabling environment for businesses in the country to thrive.