Dr Sagre Bambangi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, has said that the effects of climate change has impacted on food production and the development of African nations.
He said a serious approach to organic farming would help to alleviate its negative impact on the continent.
Dr Bambangi said establishing measures towards mitigating the negative impact of climate variability and change, ensuring food safety, addressing low soil fertility and over-reliance of chemical inputs which affect productivity in agriculture were also interventions being made by various countries.
He said this in an address read on his behalf at the opening ceremony of the 5th West African Organic Agriculture Conference held in Accra on Tuesday.
The conference was held under the theme: “Organic Agriculture: – Life for All”.
Dr Bambangi said government under the Sustainable Development Goals has introduces various policies and efforts to promote sustainable agriculture to address the issues and ensure good health and well-being of the citizenry.
He said being an agrarian economy, promoting sustainable agriculture such as ecological organic agriculture in the country would fast track the attainment of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.
He said the current policies and programmes such as ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs’, ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development’ and ‘Greenhouse Villages for Development‘, incorporated the principles and practices of ecological organic agriculture.
“All these demonstrate Ghana’s efforts in the mainstreaming ecological organic agriculture into national plans and programmes as enjoyed by the African Union,” he said.
Dr Bambangi urged participants of the four-day conference, to discuss further the challenges facing the organic agriculture sector not just in the sub-region but also for Africa and find practical and workable recommendations and solutions that would yield positive results when implemented.
Dr Elke Stumps, the Head of Programme and Focal Person Agriculture of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), said the commitment of African countries to embrace organic agriculture would allow them to access European markets where there is a high demand for certified quality organic farm produce.
She said GIZ was working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to improve quality production, processing and marketing along the organic agriculture value chain to increase access to European markets for smallholder farmers in Ghana.
She said efforts are being made to provide certification for 1,000 hectares of citrus farms in the Central Region to enhance exports organic citrus to European markets and create jobs for the people in the value chain.
Dr De Fenz Sodza Schandorf, the President of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Platform Ghana, said that healthy agriculture produce was critical to good health and the protection of the environment assures sustainability of the soil, the environment with all its ecosystems.
“We are all committed to actively promoting life; we want human health, life for the soil and for the environment with all of its eco-systems,” he said.
He said activities of the four day event include a planetary and break-out section with paper delivery by seasoned agricultural professionals, exhibitions to showcase some organic products and to facilitate trade and networking amongst other unfilled events.