Business News of 2014-05-06

Ghana is food secure - Agric Minister

THE Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, has stated that the country is producing enough staple food to meet the country’s demand.

The staple food comprises root and tuber crops such as yam and cocoyam, which are mostly produced for local consumption.

Data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the national data compilation body, also confirmed the country’s stance on food crop production.

It showed that crops cultivation remained the largest activity in the economy, with a share of 16.9 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013.

The minister, however, admitted that Ghana was not self sufficient in rice production and meat from poultry and livestock.

The Agric Minister said this when he addressed a section of the media after an Agribusiness Investment Summit which was aimed at turning the potentials in the agricultural sector of the country into opportunities.

The investment summit, which brought together more than 150 stakeholders in leading agribusiness firms, financial institutions and development partners was organised by the USAID Ghana Financing Agriculture Project (FinGAP) with support from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ghana’s agriculture sector used to be the largest contributor to GDP of the country but has lost its position to the services sector.

Government, Mr Humado said, was working on strengthening the sector and would engage private sector players who are key sources of investments in that direction.

“Government is working on increasing agriculture productivity. We will remove obstacles in the way by facilitating the removal of land tenure challenges as well as focus on infrastructure,” he said.

Rice production in Ghana

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, said the government was initiating steps to reduce reliance on the importation of rice into the country, with a focus of becoming a net exporter of rice by 2017.

“This dream will require the support of investors,” he stressed, adding that a new industrial zone in the Western Region was ready for agro processing and urged investors to look in that direction.

Ghana currently has a rice deficit of 240,000 metric tonnes with a capability of producing only 56 per cent of the domestic requirement. This has led to the reliance of imported rice which is estimated between US$300 to US$400 million for local consumption.

Mr Humado said the pragmatic efforts that government was putting in place to encourage local rice production would yield results.

He was optimistic that by 2018, the domestic production would have exceeded the domestic domestic for rice.

Source: graphic.com
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