Ghana would leverage its potential for grain production to feed the West African region and beyond, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
He said the loads of grain such as maize, rice and soya, exported to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire in the last three years was evidence that Ghana could influence the food system in the region.
To this effect, the President a Bill had been placed before Parliament requesting for approval to amend the erstwhile Grain Development Authority Act, 1970 (Act 234) to provide for the establishment of a body corporate to regulate, promote and coordinate development of the grain industry.
He was speaking at the 38th Farmer’s Day Celebration at Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Friday.
The Day was held on the theme: “Accelerating Agricultural Development Through Value Addition.”
President Akufo-Addo said the Authority, with private sector participation, would coordinate actors in the grain industry to achieve higher productivity, gain market access and increase value addition.
This would also maximize the benefits from the grain sector through effective regulation.
The President emphasized that agriculture would remain a top priority of his administration.
He indicated that the massive investments made in the sector attest to the fact that Ghana was better prepared and had demonstrated resilience to the current adversities threatening to destabilise food systems.
“This has been possible because of the sound, pragmatic policies and programmes rolled out at the inception of my stewardship.”
President Akufo-Addo affirmed that the flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), with its focus on improving farm productivity, through the use of technology, had succeeded in increasing Ghana’s food security, and opened up new opportunities for diversifying agricultural exports.
The PFJ, he stated, had promoted six tree crops for future substantial foreign exchange earnings.
“In 2016, Government inherited production levels of 1.7 million metric tonnes of maize and six hundred and sixty-five thousand metric tons of rice (665,000).
“Under the PFJ, maize production reached 3.4 million tonnes by 2021 and rice to 1.2 million metric tonnes… The credit must go to our gallant farmers, fishers and value chain actors who embraced the PFJ policies, and leveraged the opportunities created by the enabling environment for agricultural development,” he said.