Business News of Tuesday, 27 November 2018
The Minister for Special Development and Initiatives, Hawa Koomson, said government’s flagship ‘One District One Warehouse’ programme is set to be rolled out in May, 2019.
Speaking at the 2018 Annual Economists Conference, organised by the Institute of Chartered Economists of Ghana (ICEG) at the Accra City Hotel last week, the minister noted that warehouses provided under the ‘One District, One Warehouse’ programme will be ready for use in six months.
Under the theme ‘Ghana beyond Aid: ‘Developing Modern Storage Facilities through the One District, One Warehouse programme’, Dr. Baffour Awuah spoke on behalf of the minister as a special advisor, and said the ministry in collaboration with the Ghana Buffer Stock Company of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has, since 2017, started preparation for citing various warehouses in the country.
He said: “A study conducted with support by the USAID recently, in 2018, indicated that despite grain storage in sub-Saharan African being one of the key leakage-points in the harvested cereal supply chain, several interventions are being rolled out to reduce post-harvest losses”.
He further noted that governments in the region are striving to achieve the 2014 Malabo Declaration target set by the African Union. Analyses by various agencies show that sub-Saharan Africa loses an average 13.5% of harvested grain at the post-harvest phase – which is equivalent to four billion dollars every year – and the International Finance Corporation said in October this exceeds the value of total food-aid to that region over the last decade.
Dr. Awuah stressed that agriculture in Ghana remains subsistence – dominated by smallholder farmers, and has weak linkages to industry and the service sector. The sector, he said, is characterised by high post-harvest losses, low mechanisation, low adoption of technology, and over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture as well as inadequate access to appropriate finance for smallholder farmers.
This trend, according to Dr. Awuah, reduces farmers’ incomes and does not making farming attractive – particularly among the youth. It also inhibits government’s efforts at ensuring food security in the country, while perpetuating poverty among rural farmers who lose most of their produce through post-harvest losses. This, he noted, is the reason why government, through the Ministry of Special Development Initiative, has committed funds to construct and renovate many warehouses under the Agriculture sector.
“In 2018, the ministry commenced constructing fifty units of one thousand metric tonne warehouses in some selected districts of the three development zones in the country: namely the Northern Development Authority; Middle Belt Development Authority; and the Coastal Development Authority. These warehouses will include offices, laboratories, resting rooms with attached sanitary facilities, as well as chain-link fencing and solar-powered rain driers,” he stated.
Dr. Awuah also noted that farmers will be able to store farm produce in these warehouses and use the receipts as collateral to access loans from financial institutions, while also enjoying the advantage of selling these commodities on the market when the price does go up.
The warehouses, he said, will promote our non-traditional exports; Ghanaian farmers will be able to store farm produce in the most efficient and effective manner to enable them export, create employment, and even get foreign exchange.
The warehouse component will contribute to local economic development of the communities in which they will be located.
“The monies used in financing these warehouses came from the One Million per Constituency money that has been allocated.
“The monies are there for projects which the regions, districts and assemblies will decide they need. The financing of One District One Warehouse comes under the One Million per Constituency budget of the Ministry of Finance,” he noted.
The conference was held at the Accra City Hotel and had speakers from the UPSA; Dean of Faculty of Accounting & Finance, Dr. Raymond Dwiwornu; Mr. Emmanuel Adu Sarkodie, Group CEO, CDH Financial Holdings; and Hon. Prof. George Gyan Baffour, the Minister of Planning; and stakeholders in the agriculture sector as well as the media.