Opinion: Agriculture now Agribusiness; Ghana must get serious

You read right! Agriculture has a new name. A new name that has made Agriculture relevant to economies around the world. When one hears about how less than 10% of America’s population are in this field and America is a net exporter of food, you definitely know the mindset and name for it is not Agriculture.

Here in Ghana, we are proud to tell the world that over 65% of our population is engaged in it and importing everything every day. I am tempted to believe these 65% are only working hard to get hungry and feed on imported food stuffs.

Historically, the practice of Agriculture was basically subsistence – growing food stuffs to feed one and family.

My grandfather did this many years ago after his father. He saw no value in growing more to feed others for money. It was not the next business venture for him. These didn’t encourage my father either.

To his generation, to make money is to own shops selling food stuffs imported with a big banner “Big Boys Ventures”.

Take a step back to America to understand how these farmers look at Agriculture.

Farmers in America and leading economies of the world know the difference between AGRICULTURE and AGRIBUSINESS.

They knew long ago AGRIBUSINESS was the new name. Where every investment into the soil was carefully monitored for the 3 values of minimized COST, more yields for REVENUE and maximizing PROFITS.

They run their farms like any blue chip organization. They understand one can no longer depend on God for rains therefore they invest in irrigation systems for all year farming.

They carry out research to develop new high yielding varieties which guarantee more money from the same area of land. They know highly qualified staff make all the difference between profit and loss, therefore they invest in people.

Their schools have stopped teaching Agriculture and training people in AGRIBUSINESS.

But here in Ghana, Agriculture is being entrenched. Schools still teaching Agriculture like the days of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Students of these institutes have no sense of COST, REVENUE and PROFITS. Majority of farmers still plant each year and take their troubles to their pastors or priests – pay for prayers for God to open the heavens. They grow the same varieties their fathers grew to feed them and expect more yields – that’s witchcraft.

Don’t think too far, their attitude towards the farming season is terrible – it’s a favor they are doing us by farming.

Sadly, its government’s businesrichardrice farms to continue with the rhetoric that ‘Agriculture is the engine of growth of the economy’.

I do not think this engine in this state can even power a bicycle.

To be blunt, we only need 10 Ghanaian-owned AGRIBUSINESS focus on identified areas of crops and livestock and we will power the economy of this country on supersonic winds.

Just 10 farms run like any blue chip organization. That’s all Ghana needs. That’s what will make AGRICULTURE relevant in Ghana.

That’s what will make this country realize the full potentials of the soil.

We MUST practice the new name in Ghana. We must start doing AGRIBUSINESS – that’s what the leading economies do.

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