The event’s expansion forms part of the FAGRO management’s decentralization policy. About 60 local and foreign companies are participating in the five-day event on the theme, “Creating jobs in agriculture: Northern Region in focus.”
The five-day long event is to focus on leadership summit for women in agriculture, Agric colleges’ dialogue, a seminar on how to structure strong farmers’ cooperatives, a business plan writing boot camp for agribusiness players, and a forum to discuss the government one district, one factory agenda.
The Vice President, Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia in a speech read on his behalf at the official opening, said agriculture remained government’s topmost priority.
He commended the organizers for replicating the show in Tamale to encourage smallholder farmers to adopt agribusiness.
“I commend FAGRO management for choosing to promote no other sector but agriculture and it goes a long way to show that the private sector just like government is committed to the promotion and development of the agric sector to realize its fullest priority.”
The Vice President emphasized that, “Let me assure you that government will always give priority to the agriculture sector as we believe it holds great promise for job creation for the teeming masses of the Ghanaian youth which the President has always assured that he will not fail them.”
“Government will transform the agriculture sector to address challenges and inefficiencies causing food insecurity” he added.
The Vice President encouraged importers of agric inputs and machinery into the country, to take advantage of the paperless clearing system introduced at the nation’s Ports to boost their businesses.
He also urged the participants to network and proffer solutions needed to solve the nation’s myriad agriculture problems. The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, expressed concern about land acquisition in Ghana for foreign investment.
He nonetheless reiterated his government’s dedication to support the government of Ghana to transform the agric sector.
“The Netherlands has supported Ghana for decades and is proud to be part of new efforts to take agriculture in Ghana to a higher level.”
“As part of our Aid to Trade Agenda, “Holland and Ghana growing together,” we support the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Program (CORIP) to increase productivity and quality of cocoa, the sustainable West African Palm oil Program to improve palm oil production, and the GHANAVEG program for growing healthy and quality vegetables in Ghana.”
“In all these initiatives, entrepreneurship and seeing farming as a business that can and should be profitable is key, hence the private sector plays a crucial role across these programs.”
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Walewale constituency, Dr. Sagre Banbangi, said the ministry was proud to associate with the event.
He touted government’s flagship planting for food and jobs programme saying, “The need to put agriculture at the centre of government’s development agenda, cannot be overemphasized, and that is why President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in April this year launched a major policy initiative dubbed planting for food and jobs campaign.”
He further explained that, “The overall objective of the planting for food and jobs campaign is to ensure immediate and adequate availability of food in large quantities in the country, through improved productivity and intensification of five targeted crops namely maize, rice, sorghum, soyabeans and vegetables in 2017 and going forward.”
Dr. Sagre reassured the nation’s teeming unemployed youth that the planting for food and jobs campaign would be sustained at all cost to assuage their plight.
The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, on behalf of the chiefs and people of the area, thanked the FAGRO management for organizing the event in Tamale.
He suggested to the organizers to consider Northern Region in subsequent events. He stressed the need for peaceful co-existence to attract more of such events and foreign investors.
He said smallholder farmers in the region were happy about the event and anticipated enormous benefits. Salifu Saeed called for all hands on deck to ensure the successful implementation of the planting for food and jobs programme.
The Northern Regional Coordinating Council, Barclays bank, Dizengoff, John Deere, Yara Ghana among others partnered FAGRO management to organize the event.
It was sponsored by Bel-Aqua, adb, ddp, yummie, AGI, AgricTimes and Dadio 1 and Success among others.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/