She said such policies must include the redefinition of the roles of the producers and the private sector.
Mrs Quartey was speaking at a dissemination workshop on two research surveys into the state of post-harvest infrastructure and ageing farmers and youth in Agriculture organised by the Agriculture and Agribusiness Unit of the Real Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Ghana Cocoa Board.
The survey on the post-harvest infrastructure was conducted in 216 districts in the country while the one on ageing farmers and youth covered 74 districts nationwide and done based on dominant crops in the district.
Mrs Quartey said while the Agricultural sector employs more than 41 per cent of the labour force and serves as the main source of income and food for rural households its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product in recent years, has been on decline mainly on account of relatively high growth in services and industries as compared to lower levels of growth in the sector.
She said as detailed in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agriculture (GSGDA II) specified areas for agriculture which suggested that effective post-harvest infrastructure was essential for encouraging and facilitating Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) and the private sector to establish estate agriculture with government support.
Also, the Development of appropriate agricultural financing instrument to mitigate key risks facing farmers and establishing marketing organisations.
Mrs Quartey said an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of food produced is lost along the post-harvest chain before it reaches the final consumer.
Besides, there is compelling evidence from MOFA on the ageing farmer population in the country, which needs to be addressed so as to facilitate sustainable agricultural production.
Currently, the average age of farmers in Ghana is 55 years compared to a life expectancy that fell from 55 to 60 years.
Mrs Quartey said the implication of the ageing farmer population is an indication of youth apathy towards agriculture because of its financial, social and professional unattractiveness.
She called for efforts to focus on encouraging women to take an active part in post-harvest facility management, adapting the curricula of junior and senior secondary schools to make agriculture appealing to the youth and attracting the youth to agriculture outside of the classroom.
She assured the sector of government’s continuous support to the prescription of effective policies, promulgation of laws and real investments.
In a speech read for on his behalf, Mr Joseph Kwasi Boamah, Chief Director MOFA said the adverse impact of the absence of post-harvest infrastructure and the ageing farmers on agricultural productivity come with food insecurity, deepening rural poverty due to less of agricultural produce and reduction in export produce, unemployment and declining health conditions.
Source: GNA/News Ghana