The country needs a national programme to drive agricultural development to ensure food security. An agricultural consultant for the J. A. Kufuor Foundation, Abraham Dwuma Odoom, who made the call, said the national programme covering agricultural development should be placed under the direct supervision of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).
"Don't give agriculture to us politicians because it won't help the nation. Let’s use the NDPC, where we can draw a road map that this is where we want to go.
"We don't need manifestos to drive agriculture; we need a national programme to drive agriculture," he emphasised.
Making the call at the first Graphic National Development Series (GNDS) in Kumasi last Tuesday, Mr Odoom said with such a road map, all stakeholders would make inputs, "and when we design and execute it, we are going to create a situation where we will have food security".
The thought-leadership event, under the patronage of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, was on the theme: "Transforming Ghana’s agriculture using home-grown solutions for food security”.
It created a platform for participants to discuss development issues, particularly agriculture, without a partisan stance or undertone.
Mr Odoom, who consulted for Nigeria on its rice revolution, said with his proposal, the situation where political parties ran agriculture on the back of their manifestos would become a thing of the past.
"If agriculture is under the NDPC, we will be able to invest in our youth because the future belongs to them," he added.
The agricultural consultant called for a deliberate move to engage the youth, lamenting that the youth were being relegated to the background and "that is not good for us as a country".
With reference to the theme, a specialist consultant in international agriculture and rural development, Dr Abu Sakara Foster, expressed the conviction that what needed to be known had already been discussed, adding: "What is left is inspiration for us to overcome our inertia to engage."
Facing the reality of "where we are is the beginning of seeing the solution", Dr Sakara, who was also moderated the discussions, called for the investment of more resources in human capital in the agricultural sector.
Ukraine holds agric lessons
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who was represented by the Chief of Asafo and Akwamuhene of the Kumasi Traditional Council, Nana Akyamfour Asafo Boakye Agyemang-Bonsu, commended the organisers, the GCGL, for initiating the national dialogue on national development and choosing agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, as its first subject.
He said as an agrarian economy, it was sad that Ghana still had a high food import bill, even though the country boasted large tracts of arable land for crops production.
The Asantehene said it was high time the government lent a listening ear to experts in the agricultural sector to transform the sector.
If nothing at all, he said, the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food security should serve as lesson enough for the country to put its agricultural sector in order.
The Managing Director of the GCGL, Ato Afful, said the GNDS were intended to be an annual affair which would be held in Kumasi during the month of March to discuss national developmental issues devoid of politics.
He said the programme was designed not only to identify challenges facing the country but also proffer solutions that would help the country solve such issues and bring hope to the people.