President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is billed to launch the “Rearing for Food and Jobs,” programme to facilitate growth in the livestock industry, Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, stated in Accra on Tuesday.
Rearing for Food and Jobs is another Government flagship project, which seeks to increase livestock production and reduce importation of meat as well meet local demand.
Dr Afriyie-Akoto stated during the maiden edition of an agribusiness, innovation and technology summit (AGRICTECH 2019) dubbed; “Ghana Grows with Israel (GHrow-IL) organised by the Trade and Economic Mission of Israel in Ghana and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with other local partners.
The summit combines public lecture with agricultural technology fair focused on input technologies, modern agronomic practices and financing models in agribusiness offers Ghana a unique opportunity to use the Israeli know-how, accumulated over thousands of years.
The Minister of Agriculture said the new programme would complement the Planting for Food and Jobs to increase food production and address the issue of food insecurity.
He said government remained committed to modernisation and would transform the agriculture sector to create jobs and wealth for the citizenry.
On the summit, Dr Afriyie-Akoto described it as a better opportunity for Ghana to accelerate the transformation of agriculture for improved incomes and creation of jobs.
He said it was simply unacceptable to continue to bemoan the woes of agriculture in the 21st century when technology abounds and can be adapted and adopted.
“While we are in agreement that agriculture holds the potential to transform African Economies and reduce poverty, we have for nearly two decades paid lip service to doing something about exploiting the full potential of the sector.
“We cannot accelerate agricultural development when yields for many crops are below 60 per cent of their potential yields due to low adoption of improved seeds and fertilizers, less than five per cent of arable land is under irrigation, when use of agricultural machinery is limited and when post harvest losses is still ranging between 30 to 50 per cent depending on the crop”.
He said “It is with the view of changing this situation, that the Government launched the Planting for Food and Jobs, a major campaign to modernise and transform agriculture.
“We have realised increases in yields for staple crops and participation in the programme has grown from 202,000 in 2017 to 677,000 in 2018. One million people beneficiaries are targeted in 2019”.
Dr Afriyie-Akoto lauded the long-standing bilateral development cooperation with Israel which have been strengthened in recent times through increased training programmes in Ghana and in Israel.
“We recognise the technological advance Israel has made in the area of agriculture and stand to benefit hugely from them.
“Currently we are collaborating with Israel in developing capacity for greenhouse production and through bilateral arrangements Ghanaian youth will annually undergo one-year training in Israel in green house production. We are also partnering in the application of irrigation technology,” he said.
He said Ghana have adopted a holistic approach to agricultural development based on the value chain concept. It is in this light that more emphasis is placed on marketing and processing of the surplus production realized under the Planting For Food and Jobs.
Dr Afriyie-Akoto said efforts were also being made to introduce equipment for processing. This was consistent with the One District One factory initiative of the Government aimed at developing rural industry and creating jobs.
“To support technology adoption and investment in agro-processing innovative financing solutions are being developed,” Dr Afriyie-Akoto noted.
Mrs Ayelet Levin-Karp, Head of Israeli Trade and Economic Mission to Ghana, said the GHrow-IL 2019 was created to offer a unique platform where avenues of cooperation and technology transfer between Ghanaian and Israeli partners can be explored.