Business News of Mon, 20 Mar 20173

Agriculture sector can contribute more to Ghana's GDP - Abdul Jaleel Hussein

The post-election outlook remains good for Ghana, having put behind the turbulence of campaigning and cementing its place as true democratic nation on the continent. The Ghanaian economy is well situated to speed up its economic growth and transformation plan.

The Agriculture sector remains one of the fundamental drivers of a strong Ghanaian economy. However, over the past decade, the agriculture sector has seen steady slow growth, after witnessing a major slump in growth in 2007, it is estimated that the agriculture sector will grow at an average of 3.3% yearly until 2018 while contributing just about 25% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Economy experts hint, the Agriculture sector can contribute more to Ghana’s GDP.

Abdul Jaleel Hussein, Head of Commercial Banking at Stanbic Bank, noted Ghana’s agriculture sector is largely rural and concentrating on using basic tools for farming will not yield much.

Rapid industrialisation of the sector, he reckons, is required to see major boost in its contribution to the nation’s GDP, and the livelihoods of farmers.

“Customary beliefs and traditions also remain a hindrance to the sector’s development,” he stated. “We have to think about how to add value to our agriculture industry through effective, vibrant and sustainable systems, as well as the right machinery.”

Another issue Jaleel finds threatening to the acceleration of agriculture industrialisation in Ghana, is the country’s land tenure system.

According to him, the private sector would need access to hundreds of acres of land to commercialise agriculture – a need the country’s land tenure system does not provide.

Jaleel Hussein, is optimistic massive investment and recapitalisation could transform Ghana’s agriculture sector.

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He believes the thrust for agriculture sector development lies in a combination of efforts from both the private and public sector with finance being central in the drive.

Speaking to the issue of financing, Mr. Hussein indicated the current nature of the agriculture sector makes it difficult to access finance.

Nevertheless, he remains confident of the capability of Stanbic Bank in financing, considering the Bank’s financial muscle and amazing track record in financing agriculture on the African continent.

“At the Stellenbosch University, the Standard Bank Centre for Agribusiness Leadership and Development focuses on strategic leadership and transformation in Agribusiness through its research activities and laboratories and the linking of farmers to commercial Agri-food value chains,” he said.

“We have the pedigree to transform Ghana’s agriculture sector under the right circumstances.”

Agriculture is essential to Ghana’s economy and conservative figures have it that it employs almost 50% of the working population in Ghana.

Although its share of GDP seems to be low, it is important to growth.

Standard Bank has provided financial services to the agriculture sector for over 150 years and we remain committed to the development of agriculture and to adding value to business.

Source: Sandra Manu

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