Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, has said increased investment by government since 2017 has revived the country’s agriculture and related sectors for increased productivity and job opportunities.
For the first time in many years, he said, food production and availability increased significantly in 2018, leading to bumper harvest of produce and export of food crops like maize, soya, rice, cowpea, cassava, plantain, and yam to Cote D,Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo.
“This began with the introduction of government’s flagship agricultural initiative known as “Planting for Food and Jobs” campaign,” Dr Nurah,said a policy intervention launched in 2017 with much euphoria and expectation it would trigger bumper harvest.
He was speaking during the opening of the maiden agribusiness fair and conference in Wa, which was on the theme: “Exploring agribusiness opportunities for investment in the Upper West Region”.
“It is worthy of note that in two years of the programme, we have registered significant results,” he said: “The sector recovered strongly with a growth rate of 6.1 per cent in 2017 from an average of 3.5 per cent from 2010 to 2016’.
He said significant yield increases were recorded for selected crops, for example, maize yield increased from 1.8 mt/ha to 3.0 mt/ha, recording 67 percent increase. Rice yield increased by 48 percent from 2.7mt/ha to 4.0 mt/ha and soya yield increased by 150 percent from one mt/ha to 2.5mt/ha.
The Minister said government would introduce four additional modules in agriculture this year.
The new modules he said would include; Greenhouse Villages programme to increase production and export of vegetable and flowers, planting for Export and Development to diversify source of tree crop incomes for farmers and increase export earnings.
It would also roll out rearing for Food and Jobs for meat production, which has a huge import substitution potential, and introduce Mechanisation Centres to improve access to mechanisation services.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, said the people had become conscious that agriculture had assumed a business dimension globally and expressed the hope that investment in the sector would flourish.
He said the region was strategically located and therefore offered a large market to potential investors and businesses.
The first ever agribusiness event was funded by the European Union as part of its agricultural project interventions covering the North West of Ghana, especially the entire Upper West Region and three adjourning districts of Northern region.
The Market-Oriented Agricultural Programme and GIZ organised the event to help support and promote competitiveness of agricultural producers and other actors in the agriculture value chain.
It was on the theme: “Exploring agribusiness opportunities for investments in the Upper West Region,” which the Minister said should provoke stakeholders to reflect how development actors, policymakers, private sector and civil society could join hands to bring about increased investment in agriculture to the region.