Mr Dacian Ciolos, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, on Saturday said the most effective ways Ghana could guarantee food security and sustainable income is to step up production.
He said Ghana should double efforts in adding value to agricultural products and support smallholder farmers to produce more on sustainable basis.
Mr Ciolos was speaking during a visit to the Prairie Volta Limited, producers of rice at Aveyime in North Tongu District of the Volta Region.
Ghana’s rice production satisfies around 30 to 40 per cent demand of the average rice import bill of 450 to 500 million dollars annually, according the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The massive dependency on rice imports has always been a concern for Ghana.
The EU Commissioner said the vast potential in agriculture could be tapped to increase food security and local development while preserving natural resources.
He noted that Ghana needs to invest more in agriculture and make the sector a national priority to fast track social and economic development.
Mr Ciolos said Ghana should: “Take advantage of the vast potential in the agriculture sector.”
He said the EU would provide the necessary technical assistance for government to formulate relevant policies to address challenges facing smallholder farmers and unlock the economic potential of agriculture development.
The Commissioner interacted with civil society organisations and out-growers during his visit.
Prairie Volta Limited major investment in the next three years is to expand areas under cultivation from the current 1000 hectares. 3000 of the 6000 hectares would constitute out growers programme.
Under the programme, the company clears land, installs the requisite infrastructure and allocate approximately 60 hectares lots to train out growers.
The company would also support the farmers with technical services including provision of seeds, agronomy and irrigation services.