Business News of Friday, 6 October 2017
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has revealed that about 165 factories have passed the final approval stage to be established across the country under government’s flagship One District-One-Factory programme.
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, speaking at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) USAID-FinGAP Agric and Agribusiness Investment Forum in Accra, revealed that of the first set of factories to be established, almost half will be agro-processing companies.
“The country is predominantly an agriculture producing country. Therefore, when we talk about agriculture we are talking industrial transformation. We have to ensure that all farmers, be it small- or large-scale, are part of the commodity value chain. Thus, as the farmers produce we must ensure that we have the industry to buy them.
“When you look at our flagship programme, One District, One Factory, as at Monday of the 165 businesses we have analysed that are ready to be rolled out, 47 percent are agro-processing companies. This means that agro-processing companies are looking to source their raw materials locally. This offers huge opportunities to farmers who want to be part of this value-chain,” the Deputy Trade Minister said.
Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay stated that there will be a strong linkage between government’s drive to transform agriculture through the “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative and the “One District, One Factory” industrialisation agenda, whereby the industries will exist to add value to agricultural produce.
According to him, it is important that people that go into farming focus on what the needs of industry are, rather than seek to produce crops that at the end of the day do not get absorbed by the factories to be established.
The Deputy Minister, however, did not state when the factories are expected to be established or their geographical distribution.
Also speaking at the event, the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said government will unveil a Marshall Plan for Agriculture in the 2018 budget that will build on successes of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
“Coming into office under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, we were convinced that for the agricultural sector to really take-off government must take leadership and also send the right signals to investors that it is ready to put its money where its policy priorities are,” he stated.
The Marshall Plan for Agriculture (MPA) will focus on ramping-up investments under the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs policy, channeling investments into improved seeds, subsidised fertiliser, and storage among others.
Another key feature of the MPA will be the removal of duties on agro-processing manufacturing equipment and machinery, as well as the implementation of a grant funding facility for agribusiness start-ups.
Dr. Bawumia also stated the Marshall Plan has already identified some key road projects that will be constructed in selected food basket areas across the country. Apart from roads, selected food-basket areas like the Afram Plains will have a comprehensive irrigation scheme.