The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has reiterated the need for investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector.
He said the country’s agricultural sector, over the past five years, had undergone a transformation as a result of the rollout of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Addressing potential investors at a breakfast meeting organised by the Tony Blair Institute of Ghana (TBIG) last Thursday, the minister said the huge investments in the sector had yielded results, stressing that Ghana had become the food basket for the West African sub-region.
“Take soya bean, for example. Before 2017, we were producing less than 100,000 tonnes, but today, we are producing more than a quarter of a million tonnes. We have quadrupled our rice production, and we are a net exporter of maize to neighbouring countries,” he said.
Dr. Akoto said the success story of the flagship programme had attracted lots of interest from some governments in the sub-region, citing, for instance, that Burkina Faso, Togo, Malawi, and Trinidad and Tobago had visited the country at different times to learn about the programme and to possibly replicate it in their respective countries.
The minister pointed out that despite the fact that the production capacities of some food crops such as maize, rice and soya bean had seen significant increases since the rollout of the various interventions under the PFJ programme, the country was still producing below capacity, hence the need for more investments.
Dr. Akoto, therefore, emphasized the need for investors, both domestic and foreign, to shift their focus to the agricultural sector and explore the opportunities available in the sector.
He said the agricultural sector had suffered a serious investment deficit until the last five years when President Akufo-Addo revamped and turned the fortunes of the sector around.
The minister explained that hitherto, the agricultural sector was in the doldrums largely because of the failure on the part of the previous administration to pay the needed attention to it.
Dr. Akoto stressed that “things are now different, and so agriculture, under the current regime, has seen a total transformation.”
“Ghana’s agricultural sector now provides new areas of opportunities along the value chain for both foreign and domestic investors,” he added.
He said, for instance, that there were huge prospects in the poultry industry, as well as areas of marketing, packaging, branding and advertising for investors to explore.
The minister noted that his ministry had enjoyed a smooth collaboration with the Tony Blair Institute, and commended the former UK Prime Minister for providing the platform to interact with potential investors and captains of industries from across the country.
Mr. Blair, for his part, extolled Ghana’s high international reputation, which, he said, distinguished the country among her peers, stressing that “it was always an honour to visit this country and to interact with its people”.
He, therefore, encouraged the government to continue to pursue the path of economic transformation through the use of technology and value addition, as well as to engage in the right dialogue between leadership and the populace.