Ato Afful, MD, Graphic Communications Group Ltd, addressing participants during the breakfast meeting. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI & ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Ato Afful, MD, Graphic Communications Group Ltd, addressing participants during the breakfast meeting. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI & ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

We must work towards food self-sufficiency: Graphic MD rallies Ghanaians - Stanbic Bank pledges financing

The country must strive for a high degree of food self-sufficiency and import substitution to get around the economic challenges that have brought about high cost of living, the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, Ato Afful, has stated.


He said doing so would be in line with the national vision of Ghana Beyond Aid and, therefore, prescribed three interventions the country should undertake to achieve food sufficiency necessary for tackling food inflation.

They are increasing crop yields per acre, enhancing processing to prevent post-harvest losses and improving strategic marketing, including packaging, to create local value for the farmers and export saliency for those who worked in the value chain.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd, Kwamina Asomaning, supported the need for improved agricultural productivity in the country at the second quarter Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra yesterday, stressing that Stanbic Bank was passionate about funding agriculture.

On the theme: “Enhancing Agriculture Sufficiency to Tackle Food Inflation”, the event brought together policymakers, farmers and people in academia to discuss innovative ways to boost Ghana's agricultural potential for economic growth. 


Explaining how timely it was for investments in the agricultural sector, Mr Afful said: “We concede that there are some economic headwinds that this market is facing and linked to that are associated with high cost of living fuelled by factors both internal and others international, including logistic consideration.” 

“This brings to the fore the vision of a high degree of self-sufficiency and import substitution and in my mind, it foregrounds the national vision of Ghana Beyond Aid. I believe that if we are able to work at improving yields on the same acreage of land that we continue to till, we may be in a better place,” he added.

Post-harvest losses

Mr Afful highlighted the need to reduce post-harvest losses through better processing methods. Reflecting on his experience in Southern and Eastern Africa, where maize is a staple crop, he said in those economies, harvested maize was processed, milled, bagged and stored.

In South Africa, for instance, fresh corn was readily available after the August harvest, unlike in Ghana where the produce became scarce and expensive by September and October, hence the need to enhance processing to create buffers and opportunities within the value chain, Mr Afful explained.

The MD of GCGL further rued the country's reliance on imported stored products such as rice and maize, which were not as fresh as locally grown produce, therefore, advocating better local storage solutions to maintain product freshness and quality.

“We are not storing enough. We are busily bringing in other people's stored products in rice, maize, among others that are not fresh products. If you taste fresh rice locally grown in Ghana, you will know the difference between fresh rice and imported rice,” Mr Afful stated.

Patient capital

For his part, Mr Asomaning expressed the hope that the forum would help to draw strategies on how financial institutions could help provide patient capital to finance which the sector needed most.

He said inflation was emerging as a big issue for countries and agriculture was the low hanging fruit out of the challenges. “Our purpose at Stanbic Bank is that Africa is our home and we drive her growth as we think about growth across the continent.

The hydrocarbon and extractive industries have gained most of the attention. But as we think more about the ills that are confronting the world, poverty being one of the biggest, climate change and inflation emerging as a big issue for government and citizenry all over, agriculture is the proverbial low hanging fruit,” Mr Asomaning said.

“Agriculture requires a lot of patience. Unfortunately a lot of the financing banks provide are not patient in nature. We need to explore ways to better align the needs of farmers for patient capital with the type of financing provided by banks,” he added.  

Food import

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (GIRSAL), Kwesi Korboe, in a presentation before the discussions, highlighted the impact of food imports on the depreciation of the local currency, stating that “Ghana and Nigeria have experienced depreciation of their currencies, and it is not surprising that food inflation is high because they are major importers of food.”

He, therefore, called for the industrialisation of agriculture as a strategic measure to control the rising food inflation in the country.

Mr Korboe argued that by developing a more robust and self-sufficient agricultural sector, Ghana could reduce its reliance on imports to stabilise the local currency and curb inflation.

Domestic production

The CEO of GIRSAL explained that a significant portion of poultry consumption in Ghana came from imports, which contributed to the high food inflation in the country, as well as in Nigeria.

Compared to the United States, he said Ghana imported 0.52 per cent of its poultry, while it consumed a substantial 19.16 billion kilos. The disparity, he said, highlighted the heavy reliance on local production in the US, which helped to keep its food prices more stable.


“If you take Brazil, imports of poultry is just about 0.21 per cent, they consume close to 10.84 billion, and their average per capita consumption is 58.6 kg,” Mr Korboe said. He added that the examples underscored the importance of domestic production in stabilising food prices and controlling inflation, a lesson that could be crucial for Ghana.

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