President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday urged the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to help change the perceptions of the youth that agriculture was a subsistence venture reserved for rural folks.
He stressed that, in our part of the world, white-collar jobs were regarded and held in high esteem while agriculture, which ought to be viewed as business, was seen as a peasant endeavour.
President Mahama made the call when the Board members of the Alliance, who are in the country for a meeting, called on him at the Flagstaff, Kanda
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was created in 2006, born of a strategic partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation to dramatically improve African agriculture, and to do so as rapidly as possible.
President Mahama noted that Agriculture was now a business that people could go into to earn decent incomes, adding that government was implementing measures to improve Agriculture in Ghana such as fertilizer subsidies, improved seeds and agro-chemicals distribution and support to prospective young farmers.
He said Ghana was able to reduce poverty and hunger, resulting in the award by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Italy recently.
He said the production of staples like yam, cassava, cocoyam and plantain in abundance was also a factor in helping Ghana to secure the accolade.
President Mahama said as a result of its policy to reduce food imports, especially in situations where Ghana has a comparative advantage to produce locally, the country saved about 200 million dollars last year, which would have gone into rice imports
It also resulted in an increase in local rice production by 60 per cent, while a similar policy was afoot in the poultry sub-sector as a way of promoting the local poultry industry.
The President commended the AGRA for its initiative in Africa, and indicated government’s commitment to collaborate with them in ensuring food security in Ghana, and Africa as a whole.
Strive Masiyiwa, Board Chair of AGRA, stressed the Alliance’s willingness to partner government in rolling out schemes in the agricultural sector, including small-holder farmer financing.
“We do not only want to be a partner but we want to look at ways to help catalyse the initiatives of your government in the agricultural sector …. and we are looking to see Ghana’s green revolution take off.”