United States Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz has called on government to undertake reforms in the agriculture sector to make the country a major producer of food.
According to him, some changes in the agriculture sector could make Ghana a major exporter of food products to West Africa and the world in general.
The US envoy made this known at the launch of the Programme for Food Across Borders in West Africa (PROFAB) in Accra last Thursday to highlight the benefits of free movement of agricultural products in West Africa.
‘Why is it that US$ 1 billion worth of food products are imported into Ghana every year? I think there is a need for some kind of changes in the agricultural sector. Ghana could become a major producer of food products and hopefully those products that are most wanted by European and American markets, Ghana can become an exporter as well,’ Mr Cretz stated.
The PROFAB seeks to promote the harmonization and consistent assessment of the impact of national and regional trade policies in the ECOWAS region.
He added that PROFAB is a great initiative which would strengthen ECOWAS as an institution and foster change in the sub-region.
‘By starting this initiative to overcome the obstacles in trade and to address the border issues, the region will be able to become better integrated. We have seen what an integrated group can do- look at the European Union (EU). When countries get together and collectively decide that they want to mutually improve their situation, these are the kind of steps they take. I think this initiative, which would especially result in strengthening ECOWAS as an institution that can really help foster this kind of changes, is very valuable, and we are very pleased and very proud to have worked on this and to participate in future,’ he said.
He disclosed that the success of the PROFAB programme would reduce barriers among nations in West Africa and ‘once you reduce those barriers and allow free flow of goods, the agricultural sectors of those countries will automatically derive the positive benefit from the overall practices that we hope to improve among these countries.’
Dr. Lapodini Marc Atouga, ECOWAS Commissioner in-charge of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, for his part, commended Ghana for playing an important role as a stakeholder in the regional agricultural transactions.
‘The development of intercommunity trade in agriculture is envisaged to take up the challenges that West Africa is facing. First of all, there is a need to strengthen the regional market integration which is considered as a most important element in agro-pastoral produce with the view to improving their productivity and their competitiveness,’ he noted.
The PROFAB was put together by the USAID, the Trade Hub and African Partners Network and ECOWAS.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
This article has 0 comment, leave your comment.