Business News of 2013-12-18

Govt, FAO sign agricultural agreements

The government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Tuesday signed two agreements to develop reliable data for the agricultural sector and to commercialise the cassava sector.

Under the agreement, the FAO is to provide $372,000 to support the preparatory work for the census of the agricultural sector to provide reliable data to help plan and implement policies in the country.

The agreement also seeks to commercialise the cassava sector through value-chain approach.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Humado, and the acting Government Statistician, Dr Philomena Nyarko, signed for the government of Ghana while the FAO Country Representative, Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, initialled for the FAO.

Projects

The census of the agricultural sector, which would be in four phases, will span five years.

The FAO will support the first phase, which includes strengthening capacity, building technical and operational tools, and preparing administrative and technical aspects for the census.

The cassava project is expected to address the challenges constraining the development of the sector.

The project would also boost the production of cassava and link producers and processors to larger markets for high quality and profitable products.

Objectives

According to Dr Thiombiano, the FAO would support the Ghana Statistical Service to develop a detailed national project for the census of the agricultural sector with a corresponding strategy for the implementation.

Mr Humado said, Ghana produced 15 million tonnes of cassava per annum, hence there was need to make use of the excess cassava and add value to create employment and improve on the incomes of farmers.

In her address, Dr Nyarko said the census of the agricultural sector was necessary for the provision of data for planning of the development of the country and the rural economy, as well as monitoring of development initiatives.

She said the cost of the agriculture census project was $20 million. Therefore, development partners and other sponsors should assist to ensure that the project was successful.

According to Dr Nyarko, farm holdings, types of crops, volumes of product produced, livestock and fisheries were some of the indicators for the census.

From the second week of January 2014, she said, institutional structures for the implementation of the census of the agricultural sector would be inaugurated.