Gov’t urged to invest in markets for agricultural outputs

Kumawu (Ash)- Professor Yaw Nyarko, Director of the New York University Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), has called on the government to prioritize investments in markets for agricultural products in order to enhance and sustain commodity exchanges in the agricultural value chain.

He said greater investments in facilities such as warehouses, would not only help reduce postharvest loses, especially of smallholder farmers, but would also help them to access and meet market demands of their produce for both the local and international markets.

Professor Nyarko who is also the Executive Director of Africa House Conference at Kumawu, in the Sekyere-Kumawu District, was speaking at a multi-stakeholder engagement forum organized by CTED, at Kumawu.

It was attended by officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, traditional rulers, the International Growth Centre (IGC) of the London School of Economics, International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the district assembly and farmers.

The aim was to assess and empower smallholder farmers for effective and efficient utilization of markets for agricultural produce, particularly in the rural Sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Nyarko pointed out that, facilities such as agricultural warehouses would not only facilitate storage but would also serve as a source of marketing and trading area of agricultural products to reduce the daily struggles farmers had to go through to access markets and good prices for their products, while at the same time ensuring quality assurance and control for the consumers.

Again, he said it was necessary for the government to build the capacities of farmers to empower them to take advantage of cross border agricultural trade opportunities and its benefits, especially in the ECOWAS, sub-region and Africa as a whole.

Professor Nyarko praised government for the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange, adding that it was a rightful investment which required deepening and expansion of investments, especially in research and technology, which were a necessity in marketing of agricultural products.

Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, reiterated government’s commitment to prioritizing industrialization in the agricultural value chain, as part of efforts to achieve the Ghana beyond aid agenda.

He said the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and the Special Rice Initiative were all geared towards utilizing the economic impact of agriculture and meeting the agricultural raw materials demand of processing industries in the sector.

Dr James Dzansi, the Country Economist at the IGC in-charge of Energy and Firms, said investment in the markets for agricultural outputs would enhance the thriving of small and medium scale businesses, while improving the socio-economic status of rural farmers.

Dr. Kadri Alfah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), said the existence of the GCX was helping the cross border marketing of agricultural products from the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency