Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto

Ghana is on the path of achieving autonomy in soya bean production by 2020 and rice production by 2023, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said.

He attributed the high level of progress within the production of the two crops within the country to accumulated demand by farmers for certified seeds and fertilizers as a result of the Government’s subsidy on the inputs.

He aforementioned from a national average of 20 % self-sufficiency for soya and 50 % for rice before 2017, Ghana was currently heading towards autonomy within the production of the two crops.

He aforementioned underneath the Government’s flagship programme “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ), certified seeds usage accumulated from 4,400 metric tonnes (MT) in 2017, to 6,800MT in 2018 and a target of 15,000MT in 2019 was seemingly to be exceeded, as a results of increasing demand from farmers.

“Fertilizer usage underneath the programme has conjointly accumulated from 121,000MT in 2017 to a target of 331,000MT in 2019, with the national fertilizer use per hectare increasing from 8kg per hectare in 2017 to regarding 20kg per hectare in 2018,” Dr. Akoto remarked on monday at the Peer to peer Learning Event of the new Leadership for Agriculture Platform (L4AG).

“For the first time, Ghana exported over 150,000MT of foodstuffs, mainly cereals, to close countries. This has resulted within the creation of some 1,000,000 jobs within the rural economy.”

The forum was organized by the African Development Bank (AfBD), with the support of the rockefeller Foundation and therefore the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Since 2017, the AfDB’s L4AG Platform has brought high-level and influence government and private sector leaders together for dialogue, advocacy, and policy formulation to strengthen Africa’s agriculture sector.
The L4AG Platform has been redesigned to be more practical, with extra focus on change champions and priority themes.

The Learning Event brought an outsized team of Ministers from different African countries to peer review and share their peculiar experiences regarding agriculture and its role in our various economies.

Dr Akoto aforementioned agriculture in Ghana was recognised as the mainstay of the economy with a larger impact on poverty reduction, compared to different sectors.

He aforementioned since 2017, Government had been prosecuting its agricultural transformation agenda by rolling out many modules underneath the PJF.

Three modules, that had been launched underneath PFJ and were at numerous stages of implementation, include the Food Crop Module, Planting for Export and Rural Development and Rearing for Food and Jobs.

He aforementioned two different modules; Greenhouse Villages and Mechanizing for Food and Jobs would be launched at intervals ensuing six months.

“It is vital to say that since 2017, significant yield increases are recorded for selected crops; maize yields has accumulated by 67 %, from 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare to 3.0 metric tonnes per hectare; rice yield accumulated by 48 % from 2.7 metric tonnes per hectare to 4.0 metric tonnes per hectare and soy yield accumulated by 150 % from one metric tonnes per hectare to 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare.”

He aforementioned this among different factors resulted in a sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6.1 % in 2017, 4.8 % in 2018 (rebased) and 7.1 % in 2019, making agriculture the sector with the very best growth rate in recent times in Ghana.

“It is worthy to notice, that in 2019, agriculture with the gross domestic product rate of 7.1 % has unprecedentedly overtaken the service sector (6.1 percent), a 1 in a million stride in many years,” the Minister aforementioned.

Mr. Martin Fregene, Director, Department of Agriculture and Agro-Industry, AfDB, aforementioned agriculture had to be private sector-led and public sector enabled; declaring that the government should offer the policy and enabling surroundings for the private sector to thrive.

Mr Nick austin, Director, Agricultural Development, BMGF, aforementioned the foundation was investing in agriculture as a result of they viewed it as a pathway of lifting individuals out of poverty.

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