We have capacity to enhance exports

BY: Daily Graphic
Library photo
Library photo

The place of food in man’s activities can certainly not be overemphasised as the body’s functions –metabolic, hormonal, mental, physical or chemical – cannot be performed without food.

It is not for nothing that among the three basic necessities of life, food is often mentioned first before the other two – clothing and shelter.

Governments recognise that a strong national food industry is important to supplying food to the population.

Countries also see food exports as an important source of foreign exchange.

Thus, the food industry is one that all countries strive to take part in, with both net food importers and exporters keen on ensuring that they have enough to feed their populations.

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To ensure food security, Ghana has over the years put in place policies and programmes in the food and agricultural sector.

Currently, apart from other initiatives to bolster various crops, the government has rolled out the laudable Planting for Food and Jobs programme to, first, ensure the abundance of food for the people, and, second, to make the needed raw materials available for the country’s industrial take-off captured under the One-district, One-factory initiative.

These two laudable initiatives are two programmes which, if they get the buy-in of all and are aggressively pursued, will bring about the turning point of reducing the country’s balance of payment deficits.

While the country pursues these policies, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iain Walker, has hinted of his priority in ensuring that the United Kingdom (UK) helps Ghana to add more agricultural products to the ones already being exported.

The Daily Graphic sees this as coming at an opportune time. Already, Ghana exports tuna, mangoes, bananas and pineapples to the UK. We urge the relevant ministries to consider the High Commissioner’s statement that there is the need to broaden the scope of agricultural exports to the UK by including avocados.

Nonetheless, even as we consider increasing our agricultural products, we should endeavour to add value to our raw products in order to enhance the gains.

We hope that the One-district, One-factory Secretariat would consider all these and align its programme to take advantage of the situation.

But all these ideas and policies cannot be realised when as a nation we do not ensure that our agricultural lands are safeguarded, and the environment and natural resources are managed in ways that sustain agricultural productivity.

It is in the light of this that we urge the government, the security agencies and the media to sustain the fight against illegal mining which poses a great danger to the lands and consequently to agricultural productivity.

The country should also deal decisively with the plastic menace that is polluting our soil, rendering it unable to support the growth of crops.

Conservative estimates suggest that it takes about 500 to 1,000 years for plastics to biodegrade. No matter which way one looks at it, it takes a very long time to get rid of plastics and polythene from the soil.

We also recall the recent ban imposed on some agricultural exports of the country to the European Union and ask that even as we seek to increase yield to grow exports, we should not forget to invest in food safety to achieve higher export targets.

We should also not take attractive packaging for granted.

The Daily Graphic believes in the Ghanaian and we know with the right environment and a willing people the sky will be the limit in the nation’s quest to increase revenue from its agricultural products.