By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Sherry Ayittey is advocating for a National Policy that will allow banks operating in Ghana to set aside 5% of their annual profits and use it to finance farming in the country.
The Minister, however called on the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the regulator to initiate the policy that will guide the banks to abide by the policy. The Minister disclosed this at the 1st National Agric Summit held in Accra.
The summit was to provide a platform for networking, knowledge exchange and gain insights in the context of youth and women’s involvement in agriculture.
The event which was under the theme, “further unlocking the Ghanaian Agricultural sector: The role of Youth and Women” brought together experts across the agricultural sector to discussed some pertinent issues that affect Ghana’s agricultural sector.
According to the Minister, the banks are refusing to go into farming due to the risk associated with farming. “But if the central bank will initiate a policy by asking the banks to set aside a quota of their annual profits and invest in farming, it will boost food security in Ghana,” she noted.
She lamented that the banks feel happy to finance the importation of rice, tomatoes, onion, yam and other food stuffs rather than assisting farmers in the country to produce those products here,” she added.
Madam Ayittey said financing into farming is not enough in this country and this is having serious effect on the level of agricultural production in the country.
“If we are asking the youth to enter into farming, then we must make farming attractive to them. We all have role to play in order to make farming a viable venture and attractive. The young graduates will be willing to enter farming if they are assured of financing,” said Madam Ayittey.
She observed that one critical area that needs to look at is technology and innovation as far as farming is concerned. “There will not be a successful farming without farmers emblazing technology and innovation,” she noted.
She told the participants at the summit that there are several technologies and innovations which farmers can adopt to improve their farming activities. “These can be done from ploughing to the harvesting of farm produce,” she stated.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Fiifi Fiavi Kweitey who officially opened the summit encouraged farmers in the country to adopt marketing strategy to market their farm produce.
“One area which is of very important in the agriculture sector is marketing. You cannot become a very good farmer without identifying how to market your farm produce,” said Hon. Kweitey.
Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, the General Manager of FAGRO, the organizers of the summit said Ghana’s agricultural sector happens to be the largest sector in terms of employment and contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).
She stated that the discussions and deliberations at the summit set priorities for the future of agricultural of this country.
The summit focused on further unlocking Ghana’s agric sector: The role of youth and women; new innovations and technologies in agriculture to attract the modern youth; women and opportunities in agriculture; and breeding the next generation of agric entrepreneurs: The role of investment financing and insurance.
At the end of the summit, a strategic roadmap was expected to be presented to the government and other partners in the sector to begin the process of ensuring that, the country unlocks the youth and women’s potential in agriculture.