The agriculture sector remains one of the fundamental drivers of the Ghanaian economy, but over the past decade it has seen a steady slow growth after witnessing a major slump in growth in 2007, according to Abdul Jaleel Hussein, Head of Commercial Banking at Stanbic Bank.
Even though it is estimated that the agriculture sector will grow at an average of 3.3% yearly until 2018 while contributing just about 25% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), experts have argued that the agriculture sector can contribute more to Ghana’s GDP.
Abdul Jaleel Hussein, in an interview, noted that Ghana’s agriculture sector is largely rural, adding that concentrating on using basic tools for farming would not yield much.
Rapid industrialisation of the sector, he said, is required to see major boost in its contribution to the nation’s GDP and the livelihoods of farmers.
“Customary beliefs and traditions also remain a hindrance to the sector’s development,” he stated.
“We have to think about how to add value to our agriculture industry through effective, vibrant and sustainable systems, as well as the right machinery.”
He also said the private sector would need access to hundreds of acres of land to commercialise agriculture.
Jaleel was optimistic massive investment and recapitalisation could transform Ghana’s agriculture sector.
“The thrust for agriculture sector development lies in a combination of efforts from both the private and public sectors with finance being central in the drive.
He said the current nature of the agriculture sector makes it difficult to access finance.
“At the Stellenbosch University, the Standard Bank Centre for Agribusiness Leadership and Development focuses on strategic leadership and transformation in Agribusiness through its research activities and laboratories and the linking of farmers to commercial Agri-food value chains,” he said.
“We have the pedigree to transform Ghana’s agriculture sector under the right circumstances.”
Agriculture is essential to Ghana’s economy and it employs almost 50 percent of the working population in Ghana. Although its share of GDP seems to be low, it is important to growth.
“Standard Bank has provided financial services to the agriculture sector over the past 150 years and we remain committed to the development of agriculture and to adding value to business,” he added.
A business desk report