A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Sagre Bambangi has reiterated government’s commitment to make the agricultural sector a key player in the economic transformation of the country, especially in the areas of job creation and food security.
He said the government would therefore continue to place emphasis on value addition of the country’s agricultural produce for export and local consumption in order to create wealth for farmers.
Dr Bambangi was speaking at the opening ceremony of this year’s Pre-harvest agribusiness conference and exhibition in Tamale on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
The annual agribusiness conference and exhibition which is in its 10th year was on the theme “Covid-19 and Beyond: Solutions for Agricultural Transformation”.
The two -day annual conference and exhibition organised by Agri-house Foundation in partnership with Ecobank, Yara International, the MOFA, the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC), European Union (EU) among other is a platform for fertilizer, irrigation and seed companies, tractor, machinery and equipment dealers, technology firms, banks and financial institutions, processors, researchers, government institutions and development partners to interact, learn more and partner for growth and expansion.
Dr Bambangi in his address emphasized the importance of agribusiness to the national economy, saying it brings life to crop cultivation and livestock raising and allied components through commerce that also created important linkages and encourages investment in a way that can have strong multiplier effects on growth.
He commended the organizers of the event, saying the theme for the event mirrored the kind of approach the country needed to get the agriculture sector up and running at optimum level.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed on his part called on the investor community to take advantage of the prevailing peace in the region to invest in the agriculture sector of the region to create jobs and increase the incomes of farmers and also urged the country’s development partners not to relent in their support for the region.
The Managing Director of Ecobank, Mr Dan Sackey said the bank was partnering with the Ghana Rice Out-growers Scheme, Alliance for green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and MOFA, to increase domestic production and assist in the achievement of rice self-sufficiency by 2025, thereby significantly reducing the importation of rice and enhancing access to credit by farmers and other value chain actors.
He stated that the bank in ensuring that it impacted positively on the agriculture sector has developed a number of unique products to ensure tailor made solutions for actors in the agribusiness value chain.
The Head of the EU, Ms Diana Acconcia on her part said the EU was supporting to Ghana with a total amount of 323 million Euros in three sectors, namely Governance, Agriculture and Employment and Social Protection, adding that in the agriculture sector, she said the EU in partnership with the Ministry of Finance has invested 132million Euros.
The Private Sector Team Lead, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms Pearl Coleman Ackah, congratulated the organizers and participants for their dedication to agricultural development in the north over the past decade.
The Executive Director of Agri-house Foundation, Ms Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa , said for the past nine years, the Pre-harvest event has provided long term market opportunities to over 97,000 less privileged farmers in the northern part of the country , boosted the capacity of over 400 farmer-based organizations and aggregators to step up their role as market actors.
She added that the event has also assisted farmers and over 300 agri-businesses to expand, as well as created an environment for new partnerships, helped the farmers adopt best practices for sustainability and provided a platform for more than 10,000 commodity buyers to establish business relationships for the marketing of their produce.
The 2018 NATIONAL Best Farmer, Mr James Boateng on his part said farmers recognized and appreciate the sustained efforts of governments and other stakeholders to improve the agricultural sector but called for more investments in the sector and increase access to markets for farmers.