President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is optimistic that Ghana’s agricultural landscape will continue to gradually change as the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, which focuses on an input credit system that accommodates all actors in the value chain, moves forward.
According to him, this all-encompassing strategy will boost the industry’s economic activity, create jobs, encourage industrialization, improve exports, raise incomes, encourage rural development, and generally quicken the pace of economic growth. Commercial agriculture is given a lot of weight in this strategy, which affects all parties involved—from production to processing, distribution, and marketing.
Speaking on Thursday, October 26, 2023, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, the President discussed the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs program with a group of foreign development partners.
Recall that President Akufo-Addo unveiled the second phase of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs on Monday, August 28, 2023, in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region. This five-year strategic initiative aims to accelerate the growth of the agriculture sector in response to the exacerbated challenges it has faced, primarily as a result of the combined impact of recent obstacles like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
By the end of the five-year implementation period, the President noted that the new comprehensive approach is expected to improve food security and establish a strong comparative advantage in the production of various cash and food crops and poultry products. It will also create jobs, support industrialization, increase incomes, boost exports, encourage rural development, and accelerate overall economic growth. Finally, it will enable competitive leverage from the opportunities provided by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He did, however, voice concern about instances of priority misalignment between national policies and strategies and the policies of some international development agencies, despite the fruitful cooperation that Ghana’s friends and government have enjoyed over the years.
“The government is concerned by this because projects designed by foreign governments to support Ghana’s agriculture should, naturally, align with the government’s priorities. Any deviation from this can amount to misdirected investments in the country. This platform, thus, provides an opportunity for all of us to identify the factors causing this disconnect and take corrective measures,” he elucidated during his presentation, which was monitored by 1Family Radio.
He acknowledged the many issues facing Ghana’s agriculture, particularly with regard to funding resources, and went on to discuss the undesirable situation wherein the government, through its agencies like the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has no knowledge of some funds being employed in the nation by international development agencies.
He stated that “dialogues, like the one we are having today, are essential and should be a regular occurrence, providing avenues to discuss challenges and successes and ensuring increased collaboration in the execution of current and future agricultural development plans in Ghana.” This is in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for effective alignment, minimize the risk of duplication, and eliminate the government’s ignorance of projects by international development agencies in favor of a cogent approach that fosters collaboration.
In order to ensure increased capacity building, technology transfer, and knowledge sharing, President Akufo-Addo also mentioned the necessity of bolstering government efforts on the program through mobilizing resources and funding avenues such as grants, loans, technical aid, and other agricultural support initiatives. To do this, he suggested collaborating with research institutions, farmer organizations, and private sector entities.
He expressed confidence that the second phase of the program “will raise awareness about the potential of Ghana’s agriculture and draw in the necessary investments, facilitated by your invaluable support, so that we can achieve food security in Ghana,” while acknowledging that it is the government’s responsibility to create a conducive environment through regulatory measures and other incentives.