Business News of Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Ghana has the potential to increase the amount of food the country produces by up to five folds through the introduction of irrigation facilities on farms. That’s according to Israeli Agric expert Galy Shai.
He says the situation where farmers produce only during the rainy season and do not plant during the dry season is untenable. The agronomist is convinced all year round farming will make Ghana food secure and less dependent on imported food.
“Drip technology together with knowledge transfer of modern agric can do a lot. At least, double the crop from each piece of land…I would say it can be increased five folds annually from what I have seen,” Mr. Shai said in an interview with Joy News at the agro technology breakfast dialogue in Accra.
The dialogue was hosted by the Ambassador of Israel to Ghana, Ami Mehli, under the theme “Transforming Ghanaian Agriculture – the possibilities for the adoption of Israeli Technology.”
Mr. Gary Shai who has about 60 years of experience in agric practice says the low productivity levels of cereals such as soyabean, maize and groundnut in the regions of the north is worrying. He is advocating the introduction of drip irrigation technology on farms because it best ensures water and fertilizer efficiency on farms. He is certain increased production will help better the economic welfare of farming communities and lift them out of poverty.
This advice comes at a time when farmers across the country are complaining of huge yield losses as a result of poor rainfall patterns this year. In Ghana, more than 6 million farmers are feeding a 24 million population. So, each farmer is feeding four persons. In Israel, one farmer feeds 100 persons, up from 1: 15 in 1955.
Ambassador Mehli said his country is committed to spreading Israeli technology around the world to help increase productivity, particularly to developing countries like Ghana. “We want to transform Ghanaian agriculture from a traditional one to a scientific one, an economic one, one that instead of importing foods to Ghana, will export foods…and Ghana will be a main exporter of food,” he said.
Agric Minister Fifi Kwetey assured government is committed to improving upon agric production and cut down on the nation’s food import bill.