Government to develop agriculture – Vice President
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Friday reiterated government’s commitment to invest in the agricultural sector since it offers employment to about 60 per cent of the country’s population.
He said it was important for government to tackle agriculture with utmost attention to rapidly alleviate poverty.
The Vice President was speaking to a delegation of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that called on him at the Castle, Osu, to explain what the organisation stood for.
Mr. Mahama intimated that the government’s “Youth in Agriculture Block Farming” concept under which government land that was not in use would be identified and released to the youth to enter farming would boost agriculture.
He said beneficiaries would be assisted to plough the land and be provided with seeds to sow.
Mr. Mahama also said chiefs would also be encouraged to release lands for the youth in agriculture programme.
The Vice President announced that government was in the process of ordering about 2,000 more tractors from Brazil to augment the current fleet.
The President of AGRA, Dr Namanga Ngongi said the group was in the country to implement a programme that would make credit facilities and improved seed easily accessible to farmers to maximum yield.
He explained that the agriculture sector employed 60 per cent of the workforce yet the banks were not ready to grant farmers credit adding that the organisation’s “Bread Basket Transformation Team” would work to turn things around.
Dr Ngongi said the programme would fashion out an investment plan with detailed implementation policy to deal with almost all the bottlenecks facing the agriculture sector.
He gave the assurance that government would not regret partnering and supporting the effort of AGRA in Ghana because the group had worked with several donor partners as well as the Millennium Challenge Authority, among others.
The AGRA was established by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006.
The Alliance is currently working with African governments, other donors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector, and African farmers to improve the productivity and incomes of resource-poor farmers in Africa.
The AGRA is or expects to be working in developing better and more appropriate seeds, fortifying depleted soils with responsible use of soil nutrients and better management practices.
It is also expected to work to improve income opportunities through better access to agricultural input and output markets, improve access to water and water-use efficiency; encourage government policies that support small-scale farmers and develop local networks of agricultural education.