Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-charge of Crops, says agriculture remains the central instrument of government effort at reducing rural poverty and improve development.
He said studies and empirical evidence attest to the fact that increasing agricultural productivity by one per cent leads to 0.72 per cent reduction in rural poverty in Africa compared to 0.48 per cent reduction in the other areas of the world.
Dr Alhassan who was speaking at the opening of the National Food and Agriculture Show dubbed: “FAGRO 2016” in Accra said agriculture today is no longer the daily struggle of the lowly-educated rural dwellers whose over rely on rudimentary implements and result in their inability to cover enough grass in the woods.
“Agriculture is now a full-realised profession and life-long vocation that is in formed technology and consequently a launch pad for economic and social development of individuals, communities and nations.
The show, the 7th in the series since inception in 2009, is on the theme: “Preparation, Knowledge and Training – Business” was to create an interactive platform for stakeholders to share ideas and showcase their Agricultural inputs.
It was organised by National Food and Agriculture Show Secretariat (FAGRO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Stanbic Bank, Ghana.
It also sought to provide practical advice and information on the importance of sound management practices to help farmers, agricultural entrepreneurs and potential investors to run a sustainable agribusiness for the Ghanaian market.
Dr Alhassan said agriculture as an industry has evolved and continue to evolve, a new personality and undergone impressive transformation to become the change maker in sustainable national development.
“Today, agricultural industry and value chains provide many with bountiful opportunities, numerous benefits and countless prospects, irrespective of class, level of education or location…Indeed agriculture has been the speed lane to turn our fortunes around because almost every challenge that stood in the way of the industry is being responded to by technology today,” he added.
He commended FAGRO for creating such an enviable platform that gives all players in the agriculture industry an opportunity to showcase various agricultural produces, cutting-edge technologies, Models and innovations that is taking the sector to higher levels.
“I will like to acknowledge the immense contribution of our development partners, their goodwill and unflinching support to our objective of reducing poverty and attaining economic growth through accelerated agricultural development,” he said.
Ms Alberta Akyaa Akosa, General Manager, FAGRO, said Africa is still struggling to feed its citizenry because for a very long time “we treated agriculture as the preserve of illiterate farmers who has over relied on crude farming implements, compels him to restrict his enterprise to the limit of his strength and tools”.
She said a boost in agriculture production would contribute to sustaining national development and urged all to embrace the new farming technologies to enhance the country’s food security.
The Netherlands Ambassador designate to Ghana, Mr Ron Striker, said though he came to the country barely three weeks ago, he was honoured to be around because Ghana means a lot to The Netherlands as the two share lots of thing in common.
He said his country is the second largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world and agriculture contributes about 15 billion Euros to the Netherlands Gross Domestic Product.
Mr Striker said Ghana has every potential to become very flourishing agriculture country and urged all to unite to achieve that target.
Ms Carla Denizard, Regional Director, West and Central, African Lead, said the organisation focused on the youth and women in agriculture and pledged support for FAGRO to build capacity and enhance skills to boost the agriculture sector.
Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, President of Coffee, Cocoa and Shea butter Association of Ghana, advised farmers to desist from conniving with officers to sell fertilizers that are meant for their farms.
He also advised them to take technical advice from agricultural extension officers to increase their yields as well as revenue.
He said the Association was established in 1980 with the aim to work with the COCOBOD to grow the sector and urged the youth to embrace agriculture as a business to improve on their lots.