A flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has told world leaders and captains of industry to divert a chunk of their investments into Ghana and Africa’s agricultural sector for good returns.
Ghana and Africa, he noted, were the world’s biggest hope for global food security by 2050, hence an investment in the continent’s agricultural sector was the surest bet one could ever make on investment.
He, therefore, assured them of Ghana and for that matter the rest of Africa’s readiness to provide them with the conducive and enabling environment for their investment.
“Ghana and Africa are ready to receive your investment in this era of our agricultural transformation,” he noted.
Delivering a keynote address as the special guest of honour at the African Investors Council Forum in Turkey on Tuesday, under the theme ‘Agricultural Development and Investment Opportunities in Africa (Ghana as a case study)’, Dr Akoto said Ghana and Africa possessed the greatest potentials to feeding 9.7 billion people globally by 2050.
According to Dr Akoto, despite the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change on agricultural production as well as political unrest across the continent, macroeconomic instability, and the raging debt crisis that many African governments face, the agricultural sector offered immense and significant opportunities for transforming Africa’s economy from a net importer of food to the provider of food to the rest of the world.
According to analysis by McKsiney, if agricultural development gets the necessary financial investment, smallholders across Africa could produce two to three times more cereals and gains. In turn, this would add 20 per cent more cereals and grains to the current worldwide annual output of 2.6 billion tonnes.
Zeroing in on Ghana as the best destination of choice for investors, the former Food and Agricultural Minister highlighted the strong foundation he has laid for the West African nation’s agricultural sector, combining policies with regulations to achieve sustained rapid economic growth.
“Under my tenure as the Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana, in 2019, I initiated the establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authority under an Act of Parliament, Act 1010. The Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), established in 2020, seeks to coordinate and promote the development of six tree crops – cashew, rubber, oil palm, coconut, mango and Shea. The goal of the Authority is to develop, produce, and distribute the selected cash crop seedlings to farmers so as to produce and generate a combined potential of export earnings between US$6 to US$12 billion per year after 8-10 years of implementation. At their full development, the additional US$6 to US$12 billion per year in earnings can substantially increase the less than US$2billion annual earnings from cocoa, the current highest foreign exchange earner for Ghana for over a century,” he emphasized.
Dr Akoto further took his audience through the establishment of the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme which was designed to put in measures to support the private sector to scale up cocoa production, expand local cocoa processing, promote market expansion of the export of cocoa products into new markets and for vigorous promotion to boost domestic and international consumption. He also spoke highly of the construction of greenhouse training centres with attached commercial units at Dawhenya, Akumadan and Bawjiase for the training of 537 youth in high-quality vegetable production.
Dr Akoto, who is also a former two-time Member of Parliament for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region said for agriculture to experience exponential growth in the African continent, much will depend on women who contribute to over 70 per cent of food production.
He, therefore, charged African governments to prioritise investing in women in the agriculture sector.