Mr John Awuni, Corporate Affairs Director of Finatrade Group of Companies, has stated that the agriculture sector requires a holistic development and the setting up of infrastructures.
He said cutting down on importation, as being suggested by many, would only be feasible with long-term planning in the sector. “We cannot be doing the same things over and over again and expect different results. What we need is export-led development.”
Mr Awuni, who was speaking at the induction ceremony of five Finatrade Foundation Scholars at the University of Ghana College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, said until such structures were put in place, Ghanaians would continue paying lip-service to the sector that had over the years remained the backbone of the country.
“We must look at how we can turn most of our traditional crops like cassava, rice, millet, groundnuts into viable commercial export-led crops. It is not possible that we can produce maize to the extent that we can set up a glucose factory and extract glucose from maize for the pharmaceutical and biscuit factories in the country while we export some.”
He added there is no country in the world that does not import, but it is important that while one imports one must also consider its strength to leverage that which is the way out than the “cut down on importation chorus.”
Mr Awuni said since 2004, Finatrade Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of the Finatrade Group, had offered scholarships to a total of 203 brilliant-but-needy agricultural students in five state-owned universities of the country.
The foundation had also supported graduate agricultural students, supported various universities to set up model farms, helped in the setting up of Information Communication Technology centres, among other humanitarian support, to the Korle-Bu hospital and other facilities.
The annual scholarship of GH₵700 per student had also been increased to GH₵800, bringing the total amount spent on the scheme since its inception to GH₵2 million.
The Corporate Affairs Director said his outfit was committed to supporting the growth and development of agriculture, and would therefore continue to partner government and private individuals in the sector.
He challenged the beneficiary students to move a step ahead by venturing into entrepreneurship rather than perennially depending on the public sector for jobs, adding that the demand for jobs had become competitive and it was therefore expedient for the graduates to establish their enterprises to distinguish themselves from other students.
Professor John Ofosu Anim, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, commended Finatrade Foundation for its support, which had over the years spurred students on to perform creditably in their degree courses.
He said four out of the five students who benefitted from the scholarship obtained first Class Honours last year while the fifth student obtained Second Class Upper.
Professor Anim pledged the college authority’s determination to play their roles responsibly to help maintain the relations they had struck with Finatrade.
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