For many decades, governments have failed to leverage the huge potential of the country’s agricultural sector to make it self-sufficient in food production and also for export to earn some foreign exchange.
Experts and analysts have always kept tabs on governments to devote more resources to the sector to be able to harness its potential.
Presently, although the government has introduced some major initiatives to revamp the agricultural sector, there seems to be more room for improvement.
As a result, there is pressure mounting for action and the latest to make a push is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), Raphael Godlove Ahenu, who urged the government to tackle challenges confronting the agriculture sector to reverse its declining fortunes and to make it attractive to the teeming unemployed youth.
He stressed the need for the government to restructure and address issues surrounding the implementation of its flagship programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), One District One Warehouse (1D1W) and One District One Dam (1D1D) before the start of the 2023 farming season.
Mr Ahenu, who was speaking to the Daily Graphic in Sunyani in the Bono Region, said proper a restructuring of these programmes and addressing of issues would help revamp the sector to improve food security, create jobs and increase exports.
He commended the government for introducing such programmes, saying, “This signals the government’s determination to reverse the declining fortunes of the agricultural sector.
Mr Ahenu said those programmes focused on improving the yields of farmers, guaranteeing access to markets, increasing household incomes, reducing post-harvest losses, securing good storage facilities and enhancing the availability of extension services.
He said the introduction of the One-District One-Factory initiative, which aimed at linking agriculture to industry, was a brilliant strategy adopted by the government and should be commended for the policy.
He said although the sector had received massive support and investment from the government, it could not produce the expected result emphasising that the government needed to reflect on the programmes and effect some changes to enable them to achieve their intended results.
He explained that the country had several agricultural potentials, which could play a crucial role in the development and growth of the country's economy if proper measures were put in place in the sector.
Mr Ahenu said some commodities such as oil palm and coconut alone could generate substantial foreign exchange if the sectors were given greater attention just like the case for cocoa.
He said besides foreign exchange, the oil palm and coconut sectors could also contribute immensely to employment creation in the country.
He urged the government to give maximum attention or invest heavily in the agriculture sector, saying, “It is only the agriculture sector that can help the government to address the country’s economic woes and not mining”.
He said Ghanaians, particularly farmers, were hardworking and could produce in excess to feed the entire country and for export.
He urged the government to invest in the sector to make it lucrative to attract more people, especially the youth.
He admonished the youth to consider agriculture and agribusiness as avenues that could offer sustainable employment and improve the economy.
Mr Ahenu said the majority of the youth did not see the agricultural sector as a sustainable and lucrative career opportunity but stated that “there are huge opportunities in the agriculture sector that can absorb thousands of the unemployed youth”.
He explained that the engagement of the youth in agriculture would increase food production for the local market and export to bring in more foreign exchange earnings to support the development of the country.