Mr. Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, has urged investors to take advantage of the business opportunities in the area to create jobs and wealth for the people.
The region’s strategic location – closeness to neighbouring countries of Cote d’Ivoire and Mali was something that “offers a large market to businesses and potential investors”.
“I encourage agribusiness enterprises to establish their offices in the region and take advantage of this large market,” he added.
“Our security agencies are very proactive and are more professional in maintaining law and order.”
Mr Chinnia was speaking at the opening of the maiden agribusiness fair and conference in Wa, the regional capital.
“Exploring agribusiness opportunities for investment in the Upper West Region” was the chosen theme for the event.
It created the platform for development partners, farmers, farmer-based organisations and cooperatives, agricultural experts, financing bodies and other stakeholders to deliberate and network on promotion of agribusiness.
The event formed part of a larger agricultural programme, being sponsored by the European Union (EU) and GIZ at a cost of €150 million.
“It is worth noting that the region has a competitive advantage in agriculture, about 70 percent of the people of the region are estimated to be engaged in agriculture,” Mr Chinnia said.
“Majority of the people are involved in the production and marketing of agricultural products in its raw form.”
He saluted local investors and entrepreneurs already doing business and creating jobs in the region and said he found refreshing their drive towards helping the people to develop strong taste for locally produced goods.
“I was so impressed to learn, for instance, that an entrepreneur from Tumu in the Sissala East Municipality is making bread with maize,” he said.
Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the theme should provoke stakeholders to reflect on how to bring together development actors, policy makers, private sector and civil society to increase investment in agriculture in the region in order to change the story of it being one of the poorest regions.
A recent World Bank study on the private sector in Ghana identified agribusiness as one of the most promising economic sectors.
“It is therefore opportune that several government interventions are being rolled out to stimulate investment in the agricultural sector and create sustainable and thriving agribusinesses”, he added.
The EU’s intervention in the agriculture sector in the region is designed with three interconnected components to complement each other.
There involve agribusiness development, which supports integrated business models along selected value chains that stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth and the resilience against climate change programme (REACH), protection of natural resources to enable a sustainable and inclusive rural economy and productive investments for sustainable development which addresses agricultural infrastructure such as water system development and management, roads and energy.