Release lands for commercial agriculture - GIPC urges chiefs
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has commenced the second phase of its regional sensitisation tour and business fora in three regions to develop local businesses and boost local investment.
The regions which are noted for their massive involvement in agriculture, agro-processing and agri-business with huge tourism potentials are Bono, Bono East and Ahafo.
Supported by the World Bank's Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), it seeks to sensitise local and foreign investors to the untapped economic potentials and opportunities existing in these regions.
The engagement is also to sensitise the Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) and traditional authorities to the need to release lands for investment and facilitate the packaging of new projects for promotion and development.
Again, the tour seeks to obtain first-hand information about issues impeding the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and undertake on-the-spot analysis of companies for registration as well as identifying feasible projects and investment opportunities prioritised for promotion.
Organised on the theme, “Grow in Ghana, grow with Ghana”, the second phase of the sensitisation tour is also expected to cover the Volta, Oti, Eastern and the Greater Accra regions.
The forum saw participants sharing ideas and investment opportunities, including the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and guide to businesses on how to access finance for their projects.
Speaking in Techiman last Thursday, the Director in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation at the GIPC, Dr George Asafo-Agyei, appealed to the chiefs to release lands for commercial agriculture.
A section of the participants in Techiman
He said the region had huge agriculture, agro-processing and tourism potentials, explaining that the region could feed the whole country and export raw materials.
Dr Asafo-Agyei urged farmers to develop interest in commercial farming and identify markets before farming in order not to waste produce.
He appealed to the leadership of the regions to package the regions, particularly the newly created regions, to attract and sustain investors.
Dr Asafo-Agyei challenged factory operators to establish different companies to become self-reliant or produce enough raw materials to feed their factories, rather than relying more on outgrowers for production.
"I will encourage factories to produce 70 per cent of raw materials on their own to feed their plants and rely on only 30 per cent from the aggregators in order to sustain production.
"We find it problematic when factories solely depend on outgrowers for raw materials to feed their factories.
Therefore, we are urging industries to make sure that they establish commercial farming to produce more raw materials to feed their factories,” he said.
Dr Asafo-Agyei said the purpose of the forum and tour were to sensitise the regions to the activities and the mandate of GIPC and find means to partner businesses to produce the needed raw materials in order to make profit and create employment.
He said the GIPC was working closely with the planning officers in metropolitan, municipal and district assembles (MMDAs) to identify investment opportunities, develop and market them to attract investment.
Dr Asafo-Agyei pledged the GIPC's support to train investors to identify the food basket regions and other investment opportunities available.
In a speech read on his behalf at Goaso in the Ahafo Region, last Friday, the Regional Minister, George Yaw Boakye, expressed the need for the MMDAs to fashion out and clearly articulate their investment development plans for the local business enterprises to patronise.
He also charged the assemblies to prepare conducive grounds for the expansion of businesses and partnerships.
Mr Boakye said the local businesses were important for the growth of the economy because their activities generated wealth for the country.
For his part, the Bono East Regional Minister, Kwasi Adu-Gyan, said AfCFTA, which was the largest free trade area after the World Trade Organisation (WTO), was expected to connect about 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.
He said the forum would enlighten the local individuals and businesses on the advantages of AfCFTA in order for them to capitalise on the opportunities.
Mr Adu-Gyan said it would also prepare the local companies and individuals to take advantage of the provision of the law that required foreign investors to cede a minimum of 10 per cent of their shares to local partners.