President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday commissioned 75 Greenhouses and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region.
Addressing the ceremony, he said the facility, which is the biggest green village estate in Ghana and West Africa, will help present agriculture as a decent venture from which Ghanaian youth can earn a livelihood.
Acknowledging that over 50 per cent of Ghanaians are engaged in agriculture, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the sector is unattractive to the youth because of its old-fashioned production method.
The project is capable of producing over 4,500 tonnes of tomatoes yearly, with an amount of GH₵11 million expected to be realized by the country annually.
The President disclosed that “already, vegetables from this farm are being sold at Shoprite, Farmers Market, Eden Tree, amongst other places.”
“This greenhouse initiative, as I have stated before, is an integral part of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs. So, I urge the Ministry of Business Development to continue to collaborate effectively with the Ministries of Food and Agriculture and of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, to enhance the prospects of success of this venture,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He noted that even though the Nation’s Builders Corps (NABCO) has provided jobs for some 100,000 unemployed youth, “we are on course to remedy the situation more permanently and create greater opportunities for the youth by building a strong and resilient economy with the focus on diversified Ghanaian agriculture, adopting value addition activities and promoting industrialization with digital services which are the driving forces for innovation, higher productivity levels and job creation.”
The World Bank is estimating that agriculture and agribusiness, together, could command a US$1 trillion presence in Africa’s continental economy by 2030, compared to US$313 billion in 2010.
President Akufo-Addo said the country is embarking on a journey to modernise agriculture through greenhouse technology, which is a major plank of his government’s programme of Planting for Foods and Jobs.
“This means that, at this facility, the reliance on favourable weather conditions and on particular seasons for vegetables farming will now be things of the past,” he added.
The President further noted that cultivating vegetables under greenhouse has many advantages, including allowing farmers to plant under normal and optimal conditions, ensuring good development of crops and guarantee of decent prices. He added that issues of drought are mitigated by the use of greenhouses.
The President urged users of the facility to make use of the 192-bed hostel, which has been attached to it, the multi-purpose conference centre and health and recreational facilities to train more young entrepreneurs who want to venture into various fields of economic activities.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana could still move beyond aid, with the right policies and effective implementation.
He reiterated that while COVID-19 has caused havoc on all economies, including Ghana, and has had a negative impact on health and businesses, it has also presented opportunities which are being seized by far sighted entrepreneurs.
“We have an opportunity to deepen our self-reliance and minimize our exposure and dependence on external sources. We must develop domestic solutions to combat the challenges presented by the pandemic and strengthen indigenous productive capacity,” he said.
The President charged the Ministry of Business Development “to take the lead towards developing domestic businesses into successful enterprises that can create the much-needed jobs for the masses of our population, especially our youth.
“I’ve said and I believe firmly that we can build a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ that is prosperous, and self-confidence Ghana that is in charge of her economic destiny,” he added.