The announcement last Tuesday of an over $5 million investment in agriculture, which will include the establishment of factories at Aveyime in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region, is good news, indeed.
The multi-million-dollar investment will do a double good by not only giving the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme a fillip but also strengthening the government’s industrialisation agenda and its One district, one factory policy.
The glad tiding is that the project will also include the setting up of processing factories to add value to local products, produce finished and semi-finished goods for domestic consumption and for export and commit resources into infrastructure, such as the building of a hospital, schools and solar energy to improve upon the lives of residents of the host communities.
Certainly we need more agribusiness companies such as Techno Bicon Agriculture Limited to invest in the country’s agricultural sector because it is the only way we can encourage large-scale mechanised farming.
Should we encourage such major investments in the agricultural sector, we stand to make multiple gains, such as creating avenues of employment for the country’s teeming youth, improving the socio-economic well-being of the people, increasing food sufficiency, boosting the industrialisation drive, developing the value chain and ensuring a positive balance of trade as we add value to our agricultural produce and improving infrastructure, especially in the rural areas.
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That is why, while we laud the government for the step it has taken, we ask for more engagements to attract more of such investments to improve the fortunes of the country’s agricultural sector.
Ghana still heavily depends on rain-fed subsistence farming, and although in recent times we have enjoyed bumper harvests and improved food security, for which reason we have been able to export crops such as plantain to neighbouring countries, the Daily Graphic believes that the trend can only be sustained if we adopt large-scale or commercial farming.
Attempts have been made by past governments, as well as the current government, to encourage mechanised farming, but the Daily Graphic believes that with the advantage of the availability of large tracts of arable land, coupled with favourable weather for a greater part of the year, the processes can be hastened if we open our doors to more investors in the agricultural sector.
We also urge that the private sector must be encouraged to enter into partnerships with the foreign investors, instead of the government entering into direct collaborations which history has shown are not sustainable.