2015 National Farmers’ Day launched
The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, yesterday launched the 2015 edition of the National Farmers’ Day in Accra, with a call for more investment in the agriculture sector to transform the country’s rural economies and halt the rural-urban migration.
He said the transformation that was so much desired by the Ghanaian economy could only be attained through a well-coordinated strategic investment into the agriculture sector.
This year’s National Farmers’ Day, the 31st edition, will fall on December 4, 2015 on the theme, “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”. It will be held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Tool for transformation
Mr Terkper stressed that the agricultural sector as a tool for transformation could be effected on the national economy through the activities of the private sector.
“For the national economy, this means increased foreign exchange for our reserves and stabilisation of our national currency, the cedi, through production and value addition for the export markets and an accelerated drive of our import substitution agenda by the private sector,” he said.
Mr Terkper said for that to happen, the profitable opportunities should be realised by private sector operators, adding, “Bottlenecks along the value chain have to be addressed, to create a conducive and attractive environment for entrepreneurs to enter the sector.”
The Finance Minister spoke about the government’s commitment to invest in road and irrigation infrastructure in order to reduce transactional cost for private sector operators and increase efficiency in their operations.
He announced that the government was restructuring the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) to serve as a regulator to ensure efficient management of irrigation and drainage facilities to increase investment in the agriculture sector.
Mr Terkper said increased investment in the sector would create more demand for inputs such as fertiliser, chemicals and seeds that would lead to the generation of jobs in the input market sub-sector.
He observed that the public had a negative perception about agriculture in the country because of the drudgery and the risks associated with it, adding, “Government, through prudent policies and programmes is putting in place projects and initiatives to remove constraints in the sector to make investment into the sector less risky and rewarding”.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, in a remark said the ripple effects of investment in agriculture on the growth of the service and industry sectors were enormous.
He observed that the country was not achieving the desired rate of growth in the two sectors because “we are not investing enough in agriculture,” and said agriculture was a catalyst for the economic transformation of the country and must attract investment from both the public and private sectors.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Sherry Ayittey, appealed to the planning committee for the celebration to ensure that prizes that would be awarded would be appropriate for use by the winners.