AgribusinessBusiness

Agric Minister: Poor farmers cannot continue to feed the rich

The Minister of Agric has said the government is determined to address all the major challenges within the agric sector

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong has decried the current status of most farmers across the country, explaining that although farmers work so hard to feed the country they receive very little for their efforts.

For this reason, the minister said his outfit is taking a 360-degree look into the agricultural space to address major challenges within the sector.

Speaking at a workshop on the creation of an African Cocoa Exchange in Accra on Wednesday, 21 June 2023, which was organised by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) of which Ghana is a member, the minister said there is a need to modernise agriculture in the country to improve the lives of farmers.

“We are on the trajectory of “a modern, prosperous and private sector driven economy. We believe that poor farmers cannot continue to feed the rich. Therefore, we have to change the trajectory of agriculture to ensure that our production meets the needs of Ghanaians”

Acheampong indicated that the Government of Ghana has embarked on programmes and interventions targeting every sub-sector of agriculture.

“This is geared towards achieving what we call the new Ghana Agriculture which will be achieved through digitalization improved productivity, accelerate access to government services and an improvement in the ease of doing business.”

Poverty is highest among rural farmers. In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that 54% of Ghana’s working population was employed in the agriculture sector. For the rural population, agriculture makes up 90.1% of employment, higher than the national average in rural areas of 76.1%.

“The design of these programmes comprehensively addresses the challenges of each sub-sector, thereby gradually eliminating the bottlenecks that have held back agricultural growth and development in the past,” he added.

In the food crops sector, the minister said the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative created the most direct avenue to assist farmers increase productivity in the production of staple food crops. This, he explained was as a result of the increased access to subsidised fertilisers, certified seeds and intensive agricultural extension, all major staples in this country have seen an increase in production.

The minister also revealed that in the cocoa sector, the total installed processing capacity has risen to 514,000, more than 50% of the national output. The total value of exported secondary products now averages US$800 million per annum.

Meanwhile, the government has pledged its full support of Ghana towards the creation of an African Cocoa Exchange.

“I can assure all stakeholders of the government’s readiness to commit the Ghana Cocoa Board and the Ghana Commodity Exchange to this process, and to continue our support to the ICCO on all matters of mutual interest”.

The establishment of an African Cocoa Exchange is being spearheaded by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).

The move forms part of efforts to ensure better cocoa prices for farmers and a better cocoa value chain.

Reporting by Nana Oye Ankrah in Accra

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