Ghana needs not less than $2 billion to enable it fully complete the agriculture and industrialisation value chain.
The funds would help the country to develop its raw material base, add value to its products and to remain competitive on the export market.
Alliance for Development and Industrialisation (ADI) is very optimistic that this support to the agro and industry sector would help to stem the speed depreciation of the country’s fiat currency, the cedi.
The country’s industry is about 80 percent agriculture base from small to medium enterprises which could be scaled up just like the farmer inputs “so we can add value to modern emerging non-traditional commodities such as cashew, dry mangoes, dry pineapples, avocado, coconut, sweet potato among others and also the expansion of the cocoa processing industry, then we can see the whole agriculture and industrialization value chain full completed” ADI, a policy think tank, disclosed.
ADI believes an expanded and reliable production of agricultural produce will form a very important base for the industrialisation drive, create modern jobs, expand the exports base, and reduce the amount of foreign exchange spend on food imports.
The ADI is calling on the Ministry of finance and the Bank of Ghana as matter of urgency to issue a US$2 billion bonds to support this initiative for both short and long term commodities. This bonds could be preferably be sourced from both the local and international markets.
Ghana spends over US$2 billion every year importing food. For example, the country imports over a billion dollars of rice, US$ 320 million of sugar, and US$374 million of poultry. Most of these could be produced here; creating jobs and saving foreign exchange.
According to the ADI, the $2 billion investment into the agriculture sector would improve the income levels of rural people since there is an industrial and international demand for their non-traditional commodities such sweet potato, avocado, tiger nuts among others.
“We are also asking the International Donor Agencies to support farmers that are into coconut farming, sweet potato, vegetables etc as it would save the economy as demand from Europe is on the rise.
There is the need to establish a special ports receiving in both the European and the UK markets for them to be ready to receive the commodities for re-distribution”, the statement said
In Ghana, about 34 percent of the country’s workforce is in agriculture. “Therefore, if we can raise productivity and incomes in agriculture, we can positively impact the lives of millions of Ghanaians” the statement said.
Following a year of implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) Programme, the agricultural sector witnessed a growth rate of 8.4 per cent in 2017.
This was after almost a decade of erratic sector performance with an average growth rate of 3.4 per cent.
For 2019, the Agriculture Sector is expected to grow by 7.3 per cent.
Government implemented an expanded version of the PFJ in 2018 with more ambitious targets.
Compared with a target of 500,000 farmers, a total of 577,000 farmers were supplied with subsidised fertilisers and seeds for the 2018 cropping season.