The Management of Ardhi Investment Group, an agribusiness start-up, has organized a greenhouse open day with a call on agribusiness entrepreneurs to explore efficient agricultural value chain development technologies and practices to ensure food security.
The open day, held in collaboration with partners Hortifresh, was to showcase the performance and profitability of the greenhouse technology.
It was on the theme: "21st Century Practices for Maximizing your Yield."
Mr Akofa Ata, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ardhi Investment Group, speaking at the event, said with Africa's population projected to increase to 2.1 billion by 2050, there was the need for governments to create the environment for entrepreneurs in agribusiness to adopt efficient agricultural value chain development technologies and practices that would ensure food security.
He said the population growth would provide "a unique opportunity for all to participate along the different levels of the value chain, an act that will lead to the creation of wealth for our country, communities and self."
He said that Ardhi investment and its partners (Greenspan and Profyta) have a common purpose to support vegetable growers in the tropical zones of Africa to deliver the highest yields in very difficult conditions through the provision of seeds suitable for tropical conditions, field and remote consultancy, as well as tutorials on smart-farming and training.
He said Ardhi, focusing on the development of climate smart agricultural value chains, mainly through greenhouse and hydroponics farming and its partners believed that the various innovative practices were largely responsible for their huge success, hence the need to organize such an event to give patrons firsthand information and experience.
He encouraged all to participate in the greenhouse farming, because it was profitable when they collaborate with the right partnership, adding that "the market is big and l call on stakeholders to invest in greenhouse farming."
Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-charge of Horticulture in a speech read on his behalf commended the organizers of the open day, indicating it was an initiative in the right direction.
He said the vegetable production under the protected conditions remained a vital part of the horticulture sector.
He said to achieve and sustain the momentum for growth, the importance of greenhouse vegetable in enhancing productivity, quality and access to profitable market both at the local and international levels could not be over-emphasized.
The Minister said greenhouse crop production offered great potential to increase productivity by unit of land area and extend the duration of cropping season, offsets the effects of climate change by protecting crops against viable climatic control.
He said it also has the potential to improve pest and disease control with reduced use of chemical pesticides and more widespread adoption of biological control and provide control over production planning to meet consumer demand with high quality and safer products.
Mr Nyarko said as part of government's efforts to open opportunities for increased production and exports of vegetable after the 2015 EU export ban on selected vegetables, a new concept of the greenhouse villages was established in 3027.
The idea of the greenhouse village is to establish a strong agribusiness in the vegetable sector to attract both Ghana youth and international investors and it is also to place Ghana as a key competitor in the export of fresh vegetable and cut flowers.
He said plans were far advanced to construct two more greenhouse villages across the country; one to be at Wejia-Kasoa to serve the people of the Central and Western Regions and the other one at Akumadan in the Ashanti Region to serve Ashanti and Northern part of the country.
He said government would continue to work with stakeholders and development partners to find lasting solutions to the challenges that confront the vegetable sector.
Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana lauded Ardhi farms for such a great initiative, while expressing his excitement in seeing Ghanaian and Dutch businesses working together to take greenhouse production to a new level.
"The new generation of consumers request for vegetables that are healthy and look beautiful hence greenhouse production best fits this trend and in the greenhouse, pest and diseases can be controlled much better than in outside production," he added.
He reiterated the Netherlands long standing support for the agriculture sector in Ghana and said through the HortiFresh programme, "we are promoting the use of advanced technology and knowledge in the horticulture sector."