Lack of infrastructure frustrating farmers, investors
Mr James Obeng Boateng, the Founder of Kwafre Farms and the 2018 National Best farmer, has called on the government to urgently provide solutions to infrastructure challenges inhibiting the growth of agribusiness in the country.
He said rural road networks, electricity, and telecommunication, were necessary for the growth and sustainability of agribusinesses to open the national economy.
Mr Boateng said this during a presentation at the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) investor map breakfast meeting in Accra by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“If you’re going into agriculture business, either as a farmer or into processing [in Ghana], you’ll be confronted with infrastructure issues. I have had to build a 15km road from the nearest town road to my farm, as a private individual, and these things frustrate farmers a lot. It frustrates potentially investors a lot,” he said.
Mr Boateng asked the government to extend the cocoa roads policy to other income earning areas to ensure adequate road infrastructure for easy and cost-effective transportation of produce.
“The cocoa roads idea is fantastic. So, instead of saying cocoa roads, we can just probably look at other income earnings.”
On land administration, he lamented about the activities of herdsmen on farms, and said, it required urgent action by the government to implement recommendations made in both the Land Administration Project (LAP I and II).
He was of the view that strengthening financial literacy and business documentation for farmers was also crucial because sometimes, banks did not lend to agribusinesses due to lack of understanding on documentation processes.
Mr Yofi Grant, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), said, the government was priortising infrastructure development to support agribusiness and industrialisation.
“That is why we’re trying to put together 12 thousand kilometers of new railway lines and 11 thousand kilometers of roads,” he said.
Madam Diana Afriyie Addo, Head of Business Regulatory Unit at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), said government was implementing a comprehensive programme that would transform the agric and industrial sectors of the economy.
She said the 10 point-programme include a stimulus package for existing local industries, One District-One Factory (1D1F) initiative, strategic anchor industries initiatives, industrial parks and special economic zones and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development.
Others are industrial subcontracting, export development, domestic retail trade, business regulatory reforms and enhancing public-private dialogue.
She also said the Ministry had planned to develop a vibrant, technology-driven and competitive trade and industrial sector that would significantly contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment creation in the country.