The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has disclosed that Ghana’s agriculture export earnings are projected to increase to eight times of its current earnings in the next decade.
He made this disclosure yesterday when he took his turn at the Minister’s Press Briefing organized by the Ministry of Information.
According to him, the projection is as a result of government’s interventions through its flagship programme of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), coupled with the establishment of Tree Crop Development Authority to regulate and oversee the production, processing, trading, and marketing of the six selected tree crops (cashew, shea, mango, coconut, rubber and oil palm) in the country.
“Ghana has been a mono-agriculture economy for all these years. Before the arrival of cocoa in this country about a 130 years ago, we were doing rubber, oil palm and the rest, trading with the Europeans. Cocoa came and took over very quickly and has dominated the agriculture economy of this country for all these years.
“The Akufo-Addo administration is determined that this monopoly should be broken, and he is doing this by putting into the ground seeds that in the next eight to 10 years, this country is going to earn as much as we are earning from cocoa today which is about $2.5 billion a year that each of the 6 selected crops (cashew, shea, mango, coconut, rubber, and oil palm) will earn as much,” he minister stated.
Ghana remains a major exporter of food products in the world. Currently, the country earns $2.5 billion through the export of cocoa alone. However, the Minister said with the establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authority, Ghana’s agriculture earnings could see an increase to $16 billion in the next 10 years.
This projection, he explained, is as a result of the potential of the six selected tree crops.
He said, Ghana would soon exponentially increase its agriculture earnings as each of these crops can individually fetch the country as much earnings as cocoa does currently.
Dr Akoto also highlighted government efforts at attaining food security, as the country’s average yield increases for its staple crops. Ghana’s maize production increased to 2,019,000 metric tons in 2020, despite the shortages in fertilizer supply. Rice production also increased to 919,000 metric tons, with soybean also recording an increase to 193,000 metric tons.
Explaining the increment, the Minister stated that the PFJ initiative is behind the increase in yields, stressing that the initiative had helped “address the immediate needs of food security to make sure we produce enough food to feed our population and to make sure there are no threats to the amount of food that are feed to our population.”
He said government would continue to provide adequate support to farmers through the improvement in extension service delivery and the provision of seeds to farmers so that Ghana’s yield would continue on this positive trajectory.