Business News of 2014-05-17

Agric is economy's mainstay - Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has re-emphasized that agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy, and the people, especially the youth, should see the agriculture business as a very viable venture to enter for their livelihood and the socio-economic development of this nation.

President Mahama said old traditional mentality of farming has changed into scientific methods resulting in many times boost in production, hence the need for young graduates to enter the agriculture sector to help produce enough food to feed the people.

He said the nation needs to increase its food production by 70 per cent to be able to feed the population of the country by the year 2050.

President Mahama made these remarks when he addressed agricultural scientists, farmers, pupils as well as chiefs and people at the University Ghana Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre at Okumaning near Kade in the Denkyembour District in the Eastern Region. This was part of his visit to acquaint himself with some of the activities of the country’s premier university’s research centre.

The President, who was warmly welcomed by the people, commended the University of Ghana for its collaborative work in establishing an Envirodome Centre, to train both students and farmers in the country. In modern techniques in agriculture, and finally help boost the production of food, vegetables and others, like flower for the internal and external markets.

He advised the people to include the production of flowers for export, adding that the country would have comparative advantage over countries in the continent when that was taken seriously. He also pledged that government would fully support agriculture and all its related activities in the agricultural ministry and that of the centre.

Professor. K.G. Ofosu-Budu, Head of the Research Centre, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and the authorities of the University, thanked the partners of the Envirodome programme. He said the mission of the programme was to sustain agricultural production systems suitable for the tropical environment through research training and extension activities.

Prof. Ofosu-Budu said the aims of the programme were also to develop adaptable crop varieties for release to farmers through research, and also to provide facilities for the training of people (capacity building) for farmers, MOFA staff and other stakeholders.

Another aim, he said, was to develop improved technologies for the production of plantain materials and also establish close relationships with national and international institutions, non-governmental and industries with similar objectives.

He said the programme would also develop post-harvest technology for the major crops under study. Apart from that, Prof. Ofosu-Budu said, the Centre had been at the forefront in citrus and plantain research and was in growing trends in the cultivation of horticultural crops under controlled environment.

He thanked the President for his visit to the place and also expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders for the programme.

Mr Steve Akorli, Chief Executive Officer of Stevicksen Ventures Limited (SVL), said he would continue with the necessary support to the Centre for the aims for which Envirodome was set up to be achieved, and appealed for the support of the University and the Centre to also continue with their unflinching support as enshrined in their agreement with stakeholders of the programme.

Osabarima Adu Gyamfi the third, Chief of Okumaning, thanked the President for his visit to the area. He also thanked the University and the Centre for their great contribution to the people in the area.

He said his people would continue to offer government every needed support for the development of the area. He also appealed to government to help come to the aid of the people by re-shaping the deplorable roads to Okumaning and the surrounding towns and villages.

The President assured the people that the problems of the roads would be solved by his government by the year 2016.