Business News of Saturday, 1 July 2017
The Executive Director of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has called for the development of a raw material policy that will ensure a reliable and adequate supply to Agro processing companies and guarantee competitive market for farmers.
Seth Twum-Akwaboah said the policy is needed to push the entire production chain and to make it more efficient.
He also called for a total re-examination of the country’s agricultural policy especially in the north.
According to himd anytime there is a deliberate structured support policy by government it works, citing the arrangement between government and industry in the brewery sector.
The arrangement was to use cassava to produce beer.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said the partnership is yielding results because lots of farmers are growing cassava.
The AGI Executive Director said this at the launch of the MADE programme being implemented by Nathan and Associates.
The occasion was also used to launch the five year development programme that will focus on Northern Ghana to help bridge the development gap between the south and north of the country.
MADE is expected to improve the incomes and resilience of poor farmers and small-scale rural entrepreneurs in the SADA zone, with a focus on the agricultural value chains. It is being funded by DFID to a tune of 14.8 million pounds.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said there is a linkage between industry and agriculture which is the most critical stage of the country’s development.
He said processers have had to organise out-growers to feed their factories because they do not have raw materials. Citing the Pwalugu tomatoes factory Mr Twum-Akwaboah said “a lot of money was spent in renovating this factory. Yet we are unable to have all year round production because raw material production has been a challenge for industry to strife for agro processing to do well the linkage between agriculture and industry is critical”.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said agriculture is the major economic activity in the country, adding, even though agriculture employs a huge population it contributes the least to the country’s GDP compared to industry and service.
He said about 71 percent of the economically active working population in the north is engaged in agriculture which makes it critical for a policy direction to support agric in the area.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said every effort to bridge the gap between the north and the south should be welcomed, adding that to resolve problems with the agriculture sector there is the need to revisit some of the barriers that have stifled growth in the sector.
He expressed worry that the two banks established to support agriculture have all become commercial and their portfolio for lending to agric continues to dwindle.