Shift focus to agriculture as business — Panellists
Panellists on an agricultural investment forum have highlighted the need for the country to shift focus to agriculture as a business.
They said this could make agriculture a more attractive and profitable venture that would create job opportunities especially for the youth.
The panellists comprised the Executive Vice-President of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi; the Deputy Chief Economist of Development Bank of Ghana (DBG), Dr Godwin Ayenor; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL), Kwesi Korboe, and the CEO and Co-founder of Farmerline, Alloysius Attah.
The discussion, which took place in Accra last Monday, was organised by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), on the theme: “Investing agriculture for employment in Ghana.”
Other topics the participants touched on included how to develop the agricultural sector, policy priorities for investment in the industry, and current barriers and opportunities for increasing access to financing.
Contribution to GDP
Dr Ayenor said that agriculture contributed more than half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In addition, he said, it provided over 90 per cent of the food needs of the country; however, its sustainability was under threat due to disinterest among the young generation.
“Agriculture and agribusiness are our future. In spite of the country’s oil and all the other mineral resources, the only activity that can transform the nation is agriculture and agribusiness and it’s about time we started paying much attention to the sector,” Dr Ayenor added.
The CEO of GIRSAL, Mr Korboe, said agriculture was synonymous to wealth creation and not something to survive on.
“From where I grew up, there were many farmers who never supported the idea of their children becoming farmers, and it is so because they don’t see agriculture as a path towards wealth creation,” he said.
Mr Korboe said in other parts of the world farmers were creating generational wealth from the sector due to good policies.
“Especially in the US, their food sector is thriving because they treat it as a national security issue. The country puts in $2 billion subsidy in agriculture every year,” he said.
Mr Korboe acknowledged some of the programmes rolled out by the government such as Planting for Food and Jobs to boost activities in the sector.
He, however, said that such an initiative must go beyond providing seeds and fertilisers to subsidies for irrigation, as well as insurance and access to financing.
“If we can see more examples of people generating wealth from agriculture, it will be easier to convince more youth to venture into it,” he stressed.