Agric Ministry collaborates with PEF to develop agricultural sector

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is pursuing a public-private dialogue policy, aimed at bringing on board all stakeholders in the agriculture to address constraints hindering the development of the sector.

Mr Effah Baafi, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, who announced this on Friday said: “Government has recognised that agriculture is a private sector activity, which would need definite public sector infrastructure to operate successfully.”

Mr Baafi said an effective implementation of the dialogue could develop into a partnership and subsequently influence policy formulation and implementation.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at a forum organised by the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF) to discuss constraints in the agricultural sector in Accra.

It brought together stakeholders from farmer-based organisations, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, development partners like the World Bank and German Technical Co-operation, Agricultural Workers Union and Government officials.

Mr Baafi said the private sector could team up with the public sector in the provision of financial intermediation to resource poor farmers and those willing to go into commercial agriculture.

“A farmer who intends setting up a cattle ranch will require a credit facility that extends beyond a year,” he said admitting that some of the activities engaged by MOFA could be better handled by the private sector.

However, he noted that there had been occasions on which the private sector had failed to live up to expectation, compelling government to use its scarce resources in the provision of certain services.

“If the private sector is responsive, government would then use its resources in creating the enabling environment to make the private sector thrive successfully,” he said.

Mr Baafi said the Ministry was prepared to dialogue with the private sector to address the constraints faced in responding to demands of the agriculture sector.

Dr Osei Boeh-Ocansey, Director General of PEF, noted that agriculture constituted a significant source of wealth creation in Ghana and the private sector could not afford to leave out the sector.

“Agriculture’s contribution to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product is still significant and the sector offers the greatest potential for widespread social transformation and poverty reduction,” he said.

Dr Daniel Bruce Sarpong, of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Ghana, said some challenges facing agriculture in the country was the highly dependency on rainfall patterns.

He expressed the hope that the public private dialogue could propose some workable solutions to the challenges facing the sector.

Mr Emmanuel Aggrey-Fynn, an Agricultural Consultant, reiterated that Ghana could achieve more in agriculture through the proposed dialogue.

“We must build strong farmer based organisations, nurture articulate civil society organisations and have influential agri-business operatives as well as open minded and willing government officials,” he added.

Source: GNA

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