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Kufuor tells his story on Ghana’s agriculture sector

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Ghana’s former President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor has given his personal account on how he felt and what he did about the country’s agriculture sector when he was President.

President Kufuor writes in a book titled “Ghana’s Transformation” that about 60% of Ghana’s population directly depends on rural agriculture but yet those who work to provide food through farming are the most food-insecure people in the country.

The book was published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) this May 2011.

Mr. Kufuor said during his tenure, he aimed to ensure a more efficient and productive agricultural base that would become the engine of the economy.

“My administration aimed to ensure a more efficient and productive agricultural base that would become the engine of the economy by providing food security, ushering in industrialization, creating jobs, and increasing export revenues,” he writes.

He added, “The critical need was—and is—for an agricultural transformation.”

According to Mr. Kufuor, who is also the current Global Ambassador against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), over one billion people throughout the world will go hungry this year of which a million or more live in Ghana.

“More than one billion people throughout the world, the highest number in the past four decades, will go hungry this year…more than a million of them live in my home country of Ghana,” he indicates.

Mr. Kufuor said the failure of agriculture forced Ghana to import food from outside the African continent, which stripped the country of resources needed for development.

“But too often this imported food itself was of dubious nutritional quality. Europe and Asia dumped inferior chicken parts and poor-quality rice in Africa, forcing down the prices of our home-grown crops,” he said.

He writes that his administration adapted the latest knowledge from universities, research institutes, experts, and farmers across the world.

According to Mr. Kufuor, farmers’ access to affordable credit underpinned his policy making the government spraying cocoa farms with pesticides free of charge and provided fertilizers where needed.

The government also gave farmers a major incentive to expand production by increasing their share of the international export price from 40% in 2002 to about 70% in 2004 of which the result was dramatic, he said.

“Between 2002 and 2005, cocoa production in Ghana doubled-from 350,000 tons to 734,000 tons, an all-time record in more than a century of cocoa farming in the country” he wrote.

He added, “The government successfully used many of the same techniques to improve production for food crops such as maize, yams, and plantains, as well as livestock and fish.

Mr.Kufuor indicated that his administration also strengthened the Grains and Legumes Development Board to supply quality seeds and planting materials to farmers as a strategy to improve the quantity and quality of Ghana’s agriculture produce.

The government, Mr Kufour wrote also made mechanization, like tractors, more affordable for farmers through favorable loan terms as well as developing landing sites for sea fisheries on the beach and for aquaculture along the Volta Lake.

“The outcome was that, despite the problems the nation faced, especially through 2006, 2007, and 2008, food is now more plentiful in Ghana.”

According to Mr. Kufuor, the latest Global Hunger Index (GHI), which measures children’s undernourishment, underweight, and mortality in developing countries, showed that Ghana had one of the 10 greatest percentage reductions in GHI scores since 1990.

By Ekow Quandzie

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One comment

  1. Europe and Asia dumped inferior chicken parts and poor-quality rice in Africa which is true and again, again what our leaders doing about it. That is why there is a lot more cancer, other unholsome products especially Asian milk, Africa need to grow their own products, there is so much land and water bodies readily available.