President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked Ghanaian farmers to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area, saying how the country organises credit to its farmers will be a major issue.
He said Ghana finds itself in a tight competition with countries like Cote d’Ivoire, adding that “if we don’t wake up to organise ourselves well, then we are going to have big problems.”
“So the issue of credit is critical. We have to look at it. Capacity building…these are all particular issues we have to pay particular attention to,” he said yesterday when the 2019 national best farmers called on him at Jubilee House.
The President stated that, all over the world, credit to agriculture, though a very viable venture, has always been a very tricky business.
He gave the assurance that the NPP government is giving serious attention to it, and will come out with an announcement to address the problem.
The President said the role of farmers constitutes a very important part of the Ghanaian economy, making reference to the huge financial benefits Ghana’s neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire, makes from agriculture.
The West African country makes an amount of $16 million from agriculture, as compared to $2 million made by Ghana.
To this end, the President said Ghanaian farmers have the chance to fill the gap.
“And you are the only people who can feel the gap and bring us from that $2 billion to $16 billion,” the President said.
“You have assembled here the entire spectrum of the Ghanaian agriculture set up, the agro-business and all these various parts have to fit in together for us to get the results we need,” the President said.
Tree Crop Authority
Touching on the issues raised by the farmers, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the request by the farmers that they should be consulted on the selection of people to head the Tree Crop Authority will be considered.
He said, having assented to the bill already, the Ministry of Agriculture will set up the mechanism to facilitate the consultation.
“That legislation itself is so key… We need to get the right people there who will understand the issues and address them,” he said.
Single digit interest
President Akufo-Addo mentioned the importance of getting single digit rates of interest to agriculture.
“To me, I think that is one of the most fundamental issues and If we can address that successfully, it will be good. It should not be beyond us.
“The people who built the world-class industry that has been the mainstay of this country for over 100 years are cocoa farmers, largely illiterate people but very intelligent and hardworking,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He noted that if cocoa farmers could do so 100 years ago, then farmers of today can also do it.
On the amount of $37 million earmarked for the commercialisation of the poultry industry, President Akufo-Addo said it will go a long way to address the issue of revitalising the country’s poultry sector, although more can be done to improve it.
Source: Daily Statesman