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Agriculture, Ghana’s industrialisation

It is no news that the world’s largest and industrial economics, as we have them today, were once agrarian economics. Therefore, countries like Ghana can also look forward with the hope of becoming one of the best economics in our world with the right policies and priorities, developed and implemented.

Vast areas of arable lands abound in Africa in general, and Ghana, in particular, yet, as a nation, we have been unable to put our own food on the dinner table.

The little attention agriculture has got in Ghana is primarily focused on a few cash crops – cocoa and cashew.

Galamsey activities are currently pillaging our lands, in spite of the governments efforts.

Some Chinese have recognised our unwillingness, as a nation to effectively utilise our lands and are doing whatever possible, to render our lands useless for generations to come, while some of our cash crops are now being grown in China.

Sixty per cent of African youths are unemployed, (Mantra, 2013), while 98 per cent of frozen chicken is imported into the country annually translating into 700,000 tonnes, which costs Ghanaians US$600 million (Daily Graphic 18 August, 2022).

 

Moreover, 70 per cent of pharmaceutical drugs and tools are imported, with only 30 per cent being produced locally using 83 per cent imported materials, according to pharmaceutical companies.

I need not to mention the fact that our rice market is dominated by imports, while local rice most often get rotten in stores.

How can our cedi be stable with all these imports?

Domestic Policies

Government of Ghana, under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, must be commended for investing to revamp the agricultural sector and industrialise the country.

However, the war in Ukraine has exposed the inadequacy of these policies.

How did General Acheampong managed to do it decades ago?

I believe that before any nation romances with the idea of industrialisation, it must first and foremost be able to feed itself adequately with perhaps only negligible import supplements, lest they court disaster.

A typical example is the unavailability of enough sugar cane to feed the Komenda sugar factory.

Answer

The answer to the falling cedi, the huge unemployment of the youth, which has become a national security issue, the reduction of imports, the boosting of local produce etc, is a vibrant agricultural sector.

The government should consider setting up a board akin to the Ghana Cocoa Board with offices in food producing districts to purchase whatever districts’ main farm produce are for export and sale in urban and peri-urban areas to ease the huge price gap between the producing centres and urban consuming areas.

This intervention alone has the potential of encouraging existing farmers to expand farms, assured that post harvest losses are minimised, while encouraging the youth to take up farming.

Until government gives priority to the sector, our development is in question.

The writer is an agriculturist. 

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