Ghana needs to focus more on Agro-Industry development – Ambassador

Accra- Ghana has been urged to focus more on developing the agro-industrial sector of the economy as it had potential for growth in the short-term.

According to Mr. Robert Porter Jackson, outgoing Ambassador of the United States to Ghana, Ghana currently imported too much food than it should, in spite of its capacity to produce.

Ghana, he said, could produce more of food items like rice, if it did more commercial farming rather than small-holder farming.

Another problem, he noted, was Ghana’s over reliance on exporting raw products.

While I understand that this has been the basis for this country’s economic development today, in order for this country’s economy to really grow and create more jobs, there must be much more agro industry, there must be much more value added, he said.

Speaking to Journalists at a media engagement at the Embassy, Mr. Jackson said although recent government initiatives such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory, were important steps that will move agriculture in the right direction, there needed to be much greater emphasis on the development of agro-industry.

We need to see a much more thoughtful policy in terms of industrial development for agro industry. That is the area that I believe has the greatest potential for growth in the short term, he noted.

He said there were some obvious options that Ghana could look at, such as growing more rice and grains, as well as the processing and export of fruits like mangoes.

During my time here, Ghana’s exports of orange juice and mangoes to the US have exploded and I expect that growth to continue. Similarly, we’ve seen far more garments being exported, probably $20 to 30 million worth of garments being exported whereas five years ago, it was less than a million dollars a year, he said.

He said more Ghanaian companies were taking advantage of African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), and that the US had been assisting with targeted investments in the Shea, Cocoa, and Garment industries as well as in improving the quality and quantity of grains, Palm Oil, and the fishing among others.

These are important investmentsso we are going to continue to encourage Ghana to be more self-reliant in food production.

Our poultry project is making progress in producing more eggs, chicks and chickens and that industry is becoming more sustainable so that companies like KFC can source locally and that will reduce Ghana’s import bill as well, he stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency