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Agric expert: Localise food value chain to resist external shocks

A truck loaded with food stuff at the forecourt of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture

An American farmer and natural resource expert, Senator Ken Schilz, has called on Ghanaian agriculture authorities and policymakers to prioritise local food chains to prevent against shocks in the breakdown of global food supply chains.

Former Senator Schilz, who led a delegation into the country, was speaking to B&FT during a meeting at the Food and Agriculture Ministry and said: “The current ongoing global crisis calls for countries, including Ghana to focus more on domestic food production to guard against high imports which are being disrupted by recent shocks in the global food supply chain.”

The meeting was part of a working visit to Ghana to identify and establish pathways for collaborations, investments, training and knowledge-sharing exchange programmes between Ghana and the State of Nebraska, with a major focus on agriculture.

“The most important thing is that we are willing to facilitate collaborations which will create a win-win situation for farmers and agribusinesses in Ghana and Nebraska,” Schilz indicated.

During discussions, deputy minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, underscored the need for Ghana and the State of Nebraska to collaborate in many areas of the agriculture chain; including agro-processing, value addition, livestock production, energy, land use and the natural resources sector.

“This visit by Schilz and his team from Nebraska Strategies of the USA is timely, just at the time Ghana is seeking such collaborations to deepen agriculture production in many sectors of the industry,” he added.

Meanwhile, Schilz said Nebraska Strategies will offer invitations to policymakers, farmers and agribusinesses to its Negri-VAD agriculture event in the USA next year.

The delegation’s visit was facilitated by Agrihouse Foundation in partnership with Nebraska Strategies. Other key members of the Nebraskan delegation included Senator Julie Slama and Senator Andrew La Grone.

Director, Animal Production Directorate-MoFA, Edwin Bekoe, called on the visitors to deepen collaborations in the animal production sector, as numerous opportunities are currently present.

“Ghana currently imports US$400million worth of dairy products each year, and the ministry would welcome any positive collaboration that accrues to the benefit of both partners,” he disclosed.

Bekoe said frozen chicken imports – which has become a major topic for discussion in the last couple of weeks – also has huge market potential, as MoFA is keen on facilitating any collaboration that augments domestic production to curb the rising imports.

Just like dairy and others, Ghana’s frozen chicken import bill is currently valued at US$600million each year, per data from the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers.

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