Self-sufficiency, food security priority - President charges citizenry
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for the country to make a systematic and conscious effort towards self-sufficiency and food security.
He said achieving that goal was arduous and required hard work but that would be a worthy compensation for the lots of money spent on importing, especially foodstuffs, into the country.
“We spend a lot of our money importing foodstuffs into Ghana, and it has been going on for too long. And I think now is the time that we are going to have to make this systematic effort to be self-sufficient and depend on ourselves for things that we eat,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made the assertion when a delegation of investors from Thailand called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra last Friday.
The delegation, which comprised 20 investors, was in Ghana to cement a Ghana-Thailand Rice Project being spearheaded by the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC) and also explore other possibilities of investing in the country’s agricultural sector.
The Executive Chairman of JGC, Joseph Siaw Agyepong, and Ghana’s Honorary Consul in Thailand, Dr Sicha Singsomboon, led the delegation to call on the President.
The President expressed satisfaction at the partnership and collaboration between Ghana and Thailand in rice production.
“Countries like yours (Thailand) and others have done it; and if you have done it, others can also follow and emulate your example,” President Akufo-Addo stated, adding “I am excited by the idea of getting into bed with people who are known to have succeeded.”
The President said he was upbeat that Ghana would be moving towards a new system of agricultural inputs that would reduce its dependence on agricultural chemicals imported from countries such as Russia and Ukraine.
“Now we are going to be dealing with organic fertiliser, which is better for our soil, better for our pockets and, generally, more environmentally friendly and conducive than what we have been using up till today,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
Developing that in the country meant that “we would not have to worry ourselves importing inorganic fertilisers from Ukraine and Russia so much and be dependent on others,” he said.
The President, therefore, tasked the Thai investors to endeavour to have some concrete understandings and arrangements with the various stakeholders in the country’s rice sub-sector and agricultural industry in general.
He said that should bring forth a roadmap on how the two countries would grow and develop the relationship.
“But it is something that will be extremely beneficial to our country. We want to be able to work very closely with you to achieve our common goals. You have your new market to develop, and we also have our development that makes sense for our future. So let’s hold hands and do something profitable for you and for us,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
Dr Singsomboon also presented a specially made set of Thai teacups and jar to the President.
The delegation also paid courtesy calls on the Ministers of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta; Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen.
The ministers assured the Thai investors of the government’s support to ensure that the Ghana-Thailand Rice Project became successful.
The JGC commenced its integrated rice farming project towards the end of last year.
A JGC team, led by Mr Siaw Agyepong, visited Thailand to understudy the Thai rice sector in order to replicate that country’s experiences and strategy in Ghana.
The objective of JGC was to partner major rice industry players in Thailand to provide technical and equipment support for the entire rice value chain in Ghana to boost rice production in Ghana.