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Private Sector Collaboration Needed For Agricultural Transformation

The Ministry of Agriculture has underscored the need for effective private-sector collaboration and investment in agriculture to achieve the needed transformation that the government is pursuing in that sector.

Statistics available at the Ghana Statistical Service indicate that agriculture had been the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy for many years, accounting for not less than 60 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, after the re-basing of the economy in the 2010/2011 financial year, the services sector was found to have outstripped agriculture in terms of additional contribution to the GDP.

Policy dialogue 

Speaking at a one-day policy dialogue to share and deliberate on the recommendations of a recent agricultural research in Accra yesterday, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture,  Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu said in order to attract the needed private-sector participation, the government had created an enabling environment in the form of policies and projects for such collaborations and private-sector investments to thrive.

The policy dialogue focused on how research conducted by the Strategy Ghana Support Programme (GSSP) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) could be used to improve agriculture in Ghana.

It brought together policy makers, development partners, majority of stakeholders in the agricultural sector and international and local researchers to discuss how Ghana could capitalise on its successes and promote agricultural innovation.

Some of the issues discussed included agricultural intensification, land, labour and seeds, supply and services, macro and political economy and the transformation of food systems in Ghana.

Participants are expected to offer actionable recommendations on the critical issues to enhance policy decisions.

“We admit there are some risks in the agricultural sector, but efforts are being made to address them through establishing medium and long-term financing schemes, using business models such as the nucleus-outgrower scheme and the Ghana Incentive-based Risk sharing scheme in Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL), which was launched last week,” Dr Alhassan said.

He said so far both public and private-sector investments in the area were still inadequate and, therefore, significant investment was required to catapult the transformation expected in the sector.

“We need to invest in infrastructure, extension services, including business facilitation, data and information collation, analysis and dissemination, markets, quality and safe produce/products, seeds and fertilizer, mechanisation and trade facilitation,” he said.

Aim of the initiative 

In his opening remarks, a Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, Dr Shashidhara Kolavalli, said the research findings would help farmers in Ghana to maximise their success potential.

He explained that Ghanaian farmers’ slow adoption of modern crop varieties and use of only fertiliser to maintain yields had been obstacles to greater agricultural intensification.

In his presentation, the IFPRI Research Coordinator, Dr Nazaire Houssou, examined the possibility for Ghana to use a green revolution type of agricultural intensification.

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