THE Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) is calling on government to consider skills development as a critical component in the transformation agenda of the agribusiness sector to guarantee food security in the country.
The Chamber said focusing on technical, managerial, and organisational skills required for agribusiness investment is critical because they are essential to promote entrepreneurship and business start-up training to create a demonstration effect to attract investors, including young people into the agricultural sector.
In article developed by the Chamber’s Bureau of Policy and Research dubbed: “Agricultural Transformation in Ghana: An insight into the NPP and NDC past performance, future perspective, and policy options noted that it was time to clearly define national priorities in the agriculture sector.
The Chamber noted that in the context of chronic agricultural underinvestment, enhancing agricultural sector spending could generate substantial gains in productivity, employment, and livelihood. It noted that experiences from countries like Israel, Brazil, and China show how better expenditure targeting can drive agricultural growth.
It said Ghana possessed overall favorable conditions for agribusiness but to fully maximize the benefits, there was the need to deepen and quicken the pace of reforms required to attract private sector investment in agribusiness.
It further said helping farmers to access markets was an essential part of ensuring agricultural development, leading to rural poverty reduction, which is a needed component for job creation.
Comparing agriculture sector performance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Chamber made the following observations;
The NDC increased the agricultural share of GDP from 21.7 per cent in 2013 to 22.1 per cent in 2014, an increase of 0.4 per cent, and maintained the figure of 22.1 per cent for three years, thus 22.1 per cent for 2014, 2015, and 2016:
It said the sector’s contribution to the GDP reduced from 22.1 per cent in 2016 to 21.2 per cent in 2017, 19.7 per in 2018, and 18.5 per cent in 2019, a reduction of 3.6 per cent since 2016.
The Chamber said though the share of the agricultural sector keeps reducing, it is known that when a country is developing, the contribution of the agriculture sector to the GDP must decline to pave way for the service, manufacturing, construction, and mining and quarry to lead.
“While this analogy is true, Ghana’s plan of focusing on agribusiness as a means to economic freedom, job creation, and providing raw materials for local industries has fully not been utilized”.
The Chamber believes that though agriculture has the potential to be one of the leading sectors for a more diversified economy, lack of public spending in the sector, and challenges with the regulatory framework to attract more private investment slowed down the performance of the sector under the NDC.