Agric financing will enhance Ghana’s accelerated growth prospects

Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Tuesday said the country’s economic growth and structural transformation could be propelled by a thriving agricultural sector.

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Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson addressing the media on the side-line of the Summit.
Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson addressing the media on the side-line of the Summit.

He said an efficient and productive agricultural sector would undeniably enhance Ghana’s prospect for an accelerated growth.

Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson addressing the media on the side-line of the Summit.
Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson addressing the media on the side-line of the Summit.

“In view of the significance of the sector, Government has decided to place greater emphasis on mechanised and commercial agriculture as well as agribusiness and value addition as means of growing the Ghanaian economy and creating employment,” he said.

In a speech read for him at the Third Annual Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, Mr Terkper said the country could not make overall progress unless the mass of small-scale food producers achieve significant improvement in their productivity through increased investment and changes in technologies.

He said government sought to improve productivity along the entire value chain, which includes inputs distribution and adoption of technologies for farming activities, marketing, processing and retailing.

The summit under the theme, “Expanding the frontiers of Agricultural Finance in Ghana”, is being organised by USAID under its Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP) in collaboration with the Ministries of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Finance and Economic Planning to find innovative ways of financing agribusinesses in Ghana.

USAID-FinGAP is a five year project- 2013 to 2018- with the goal of facilitating finance and investments in the maize, rice and soy supply in the north of Ghana, and improving ancillary services to enable agribusinesses to operate at full capacity and expand levels of food security in the country.

The Minister announced that government through prudent policy planning has been working to ensure the full maximisation of the benefits of agriculture.

He said expanding and increasing credit to farmers; creation of special value chain system and provision of incentivised tax regimes are some of the policy measures government was implementing to improve the well-being of farmers in Ghana.

He said apart from such policies to ensure that the agriculture sector is attractive to private sector operators, government was also implementing broad-based fiscal policies to create enabling business-friendly environment for investment.

“Through deliberate government interventions, this sector has gradually been moving from subsistence farming system to a more mechanised and commercialised one. It should, however, be emphasised that the transition has happened due in part to substantial private sector investments,” he added.

Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, said using the private sector as front liners would increase agriculture growth in Ghana and commended the USAID-FinGAP and other development partners for the project.

He said Ghana has relevant financial structures but the multiplicity of work of the private sector does not enable public investment for agribusiness.

He noted that cheaper source of financing to increase investment to the sector would enable farmers enhance their productivity in the maize, rice and the soy value chain.

Dr Yakubu said Ghana’s agriculture sector has gone through several stages saying how “we saw a farmer as a farmer is no more the case today because we now have farmers in dis-aggregated form and we need to do investments strategically to bring the out the best benefits.

“Now we look at qualification and participation because the farmer in the past was living in the non-digital age and today we are in the digital age hence, the same tools used in agriculture cannot facilitate the work of the modern digital world.

“That is why MOFA in collaboration with its development partners and the Ministry of Finance are investing to add the youth and women onto the project.

The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, said the USAID-FinGAP supports USAID Ghana’s activities in the United States Government’s Feed the Future Strategy, which aims to establish commercially-driven agricultural development service critical to reducing food insecurity and poverty.

“USAID-FinGAP is also contributing to the joint efforts by USAID and the Government of Ghana to address the major constraint to Ghana’s economic growth including the development of financial sector infrastructure and increasing small medium including large enterprises’ (SMiLEs) access to finance,” he added.

Source: GNA
By Patience Azaglo Gbeze/Celestine Tsievor, GNA

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