Ghana’s agriculture has not received the necessary attention in past governments for acceleration of the economy but that is about to change, because President Mahama is promising strategies for Agriculture transformation in his next government.The prospect for accelerated transformation of the economy, he said lies in the opportunities that exist in the agriculture sector and their linkages to the industry and services sectors.
“This will energize the rural economy and reduce poverty and deprivation through expansion in employment opportunities along the agriculture value chain”, the President outlined in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto.
The President indicated that the transformation will be driven by the implementation of the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP) II and corresponding strategies.
According to him, they will prioritize allocation of financial resources and essential infrastructure to catalyze development in the sector.
“The next NDC government will provide support for the research institutions and agriculture departments of our universities, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) among others to step up their work on the development of certified seeds, breeding stock and improved farming methods”, he observed.
President Mahama promised to strengthen farmers groups such as co-operatives and afarer-based organizations (FBOs), review the block-farming system to make it more beneficial and sustainable and reinforce the Youth-in-Agriculture Programme as a major component of the agriculture transformation strategy.
He said there will be special focus on their industrialization efforts on the provision of incentives for the establishment of industries that have backward linkages to Ghana’s agriculture resource base.
To minimize post-harvest losses, President Mahama underscored the need for his government to construct storage facilities, including silos and cold storage units at strategic locations through a mix of strategies including Public-Private Partnerships.
He estimated an expansion of the implementation of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) II and the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP), support and encourage the private sector to play a greater role in introducing innovations such as financial intermediation, aggregation and barter services, weather and market data online services, extension services and provision of agricultural inputs.
“We will promote the establishment of ‘Agriculture Estates’ to serve as major ‘production units’ of horticulture produce for import substitution, raw material production and for export and continue to transform the agriculture sector from subsistence farming to commercial, mechanized and irrigation-based agriculture in the medium to long-term”, he posited.
President Mahama promised to make farming attractive to the youth by instituting a Young Farmers category of the National Farmers’ Award scheme.