The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has said promoting agri-business will be a top priority of his next government.
Addressing a gathering of chiefs and people after commissioning a cassava processing factory in Kintampo on Friday as part of his three-day tour of the Bono East Region, Mr Mahama said this will ensure real transformation for the agriculture sector by increasing the earnings of farmers and creating more jobs.
As part of the agric sector transformation plan, Mr Mahama said the name of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will be changed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-business to reflect the special emphasis on creating more business opportunities for farmers.
He explained that the under the plan, the government will set up agric mechanisation centres with the modern farming machinery to make the work of farmers easier and more attractive to the youth.
He added that farmers will then be able to access the services of the agric mechanisation centres at cheaper rates or on credit and pay after harvesting their crops. He said the the next NDC government will create crop processing zones where smaller factories will be established across the country to help process farm produce and reduce post-harvest losses.
Mr Mahama said his next government, in line with the 2020 manifesto of the NDC, known as the People’s Manifesto, will establish a Cashew Development Board to promote the interest of cashew farmers.
He said his government will also establish cashew processing plants in the Bono and Bono East Regions to process cashew nuts for the export market.
John Dramani Mahama therefore urged the electorates to vote for him in the December 7 presidential election to enable the NDC work implement its manifesto plan, which seeks to create a quarter of a million jobs every year; for the next four years as well as invest two billion dollars annually over a five-year period to create opportunities for local businesses and stimulate economic growth.