Encourage farmers for higher productivity – Prof Aryeetey

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana, Legon on Tuesday said African farmers and economists must be encouraged and supported to increase productivity.

He said Africans like their counterparts anywhere in the world were rational and would respond positively to incentives.

“They know incentives in the agricultural sector is low and therefore move away from it,” he added.

Prof Aryeetey made the call at a two-day conference organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with the University of Ghana in Accra.

The conference, which congregates leading researchers, policy makers and representatives of development organisations from Sub-Saharan Africa and the world, aims at the economic transformation of Africa and its policy implications especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It will include an overview of the structural and spatial transformations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as seven country cases.

Prof Aryeetey noted that the incentives must be properly structured in a manner that would make it desirable for them to make the right move towards higher productivity.

He said it was a season of Africa’s transformation as local policy makers were baffled at what to do.

Prof Aryeetey stated that most African countries had not focused on how to transform their agricultural sector, what kind of industrial policy to adopt, and some reduced efforts to motivate the agricultural sector and failed in its responsibilities.

He indicated that the conference had assembled the best agricultural researchers for the rest of Africa to learn at their feet, however, he cautioned that these best practices from around the world must be learned selectively to suit locals in practical terms.

Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Former Senior Minister, during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said learning from these seasoned policy makers would be suitable for their Ghanaian counterparts.

He stated that Ghana’s three per cent economic growth was thought to be high and comfortable but the conference had brought to the fore a growth rate of as high as eight per cent in Asia and Latin America.

Mr Mensah questioned what accounted for the huge difference and expressed hope that what would be learnt at the conference would give Ghana the secret to transform her productive sector.

He said most of the time Ghanaians demonised rural-urban drifts and questioned what would have been the economic value of girls in the northern parts of the country if they had remained there.

“As Kayayee (women porters) in the city to some extent was beneficiary to the economy than staying in the village. Let us not conclude without research that rural-urban drift is bad,” he added.

Source: GNA

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