Agric Producers laud Food and Agric Show

Cassava - a staple food in Ghana

The Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organisation (GAPTO), has lauded the National Food and Agriculture Show (FAGRO), saying it is an initiative that will help Ghana to achieve food security and sufficiency.

According to the General Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Haruna Agesheka, FAGRO as a platform provides an excellent environment for both the private sector and government to brainstorm on challenges and prospects of the agricultural sector “so that we can achieve the goal of feeding ourselves locally.”

Mr. Agesheka, who was speaking in an interview on Skyy Television as part of activities lined up for FAGRO 2010, said the timing for such an important agriculture show was very excellent, as it will provide effective and efficient training to farmers and traders in the agricultural sector on a common platform.

He said the theme for this year’s show, which emphasises on the use of modern technology, is in the right direction, since it will facilitate the growth of the sector.

“Technology has for a long time outwitted us because of our dependence on the hoe and cutlass for cultivation, which has resulted in us relying on other countries for our food and other agricultural products,” he bemoaned.

He noted that due to the lack of modern storage and processing facilities in the country, produce such as tomatoes, oranges, plantain, cassava, and yam “go waste, resulting in constant lean seasons of such commodities.”

“Therefore the application of technology will be a good tool to train farmers and everyone in the value chain to move the agricultural sector forward,” he stressed.

He urged the private sector to assist in this direction by investing in agricultural technology in the country.

“That is why we are happy about the FAGRO initiative, because it will be the only platform by which we expect the government, individuals and associations to listen to us and address some of our problems accordingly,” he added.

The Secretary-General called on the Ghanaian government and ECOWAS to create the enabling environment through the waiver of all taxes on agricultural inputs, equipment and machinery to sustain the scheme technology in the sector.

“Taxes on agricultural inputs such as seedlings, fertilisers, tractors among others should be zero to attract more investors into the sector,” he added.

He mentioned the lack of logistics, access to credit and poor road network as some of the challenges facing members of the association.

GAPTO was established 18 years ago as an umbrella body to provide productive marketing for the products and services of producers, traders and transporters in the country.

The association, which currently has 12,000 members with 23 commodity associations, has created business partnerships between Ghana and Nigeria on one hand, and Burkina Faso and Niger on the other.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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