MINISTER for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has hinted that Ghana will see a double-digit percent growth in agriculture within the next two years.

According to the minister, the previous administration saw a huge decline in agriculture growth, which was said to be 2.2 per cent but for the past two years government has delivered a massive increase of 8 per cent.

“Under the efforts of President Akufo-Addo, we are targeting double digit growth in agriculture, we intend to grow at 10 percent. The previous administration drove it down to 2.2 per cent and even less. We come in two years and we brought it to 8 per cent. We are hoping in the next two or three years it will get into double digits, 10 per cent and above.” He said.

The minister indicated that the essence of Planting for Food and Jobs, for instance, is to increase agricultural productivity of Ghanaian farmers, which is at the heart of government’s policy.

He also hinted the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is billed to launch the “Rearing for Food and Jobs,” programme to facilitate growth in the livestock industry.

The “Rearing for Food and Jobs”, he explained, is another Government flagship project, which seeks to increase livestock production and reduce importation of meat as well meet local demand.

The Minister of Agriculture said the new programme would complement the Planting for Food and Jobs to increase food production and address the issue of food insecurity.
Dr Afriyie-Akoto was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the maiden edition of an agribusiness, innovation and technology summit.

The summit combines public lecture with agricultural technology fair focused on input technologies, modern agronomic practices and financing models in agribusiness which offers Ghana a unique opportunity to use the Israeli know-how, accumulated over thousands of years.

The theme for the event, “Ghana Grows with Israel (GHrow-IL) Agritech Summit 2019”, focuses on three areas; Input Technologies, Modern Agronomic Practices, Financing Models in Agricbusiness and will offer both Israel and Ghana opportunities to develop and build new ties through the agricultural value chain especially with the government Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs’ agenda.

State of Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Shani Cooper indicated that the summit offers Ghana a unique opportunity to use the Israeli know-how, accumulated over thousands of years.

Narrating the Israeli breakthrough in Agricultural technology and innovation, Mrs Cooper noted that “Throughout years of work, they kept a guided principle: work hard in order to put food on your families’ table,” she said.

Mrs Cooper said the Jewish people returned to their homeland 3,000 years later to a political island without the ability to import food from its neighbours, “we had to come up with vital solutions for a self-supplying economy.

“In a 70 per cent desert-land, with not much rain and even fewer natural resources of water, we knew that, we had to flourish in the wilderness and provide our own food, depending on the same nature and climate that our ancestors did”.
The Israeli Ambassador noted that, back in exile, “our fathers and mothers did not work in Agriculture, they were merchants and dealers, they were Torah students and housewives.

“It is a true wonder realizing how much courageous they were, while they decided that they had to recreate themselves, to invest the new image of the modern Jew, who will be amongst others farmers”.
She said without any knowledge, the Israelis started to make their own agriculture; stressing that the lack of previous know-how was a challenge but also a point of strength.

“Not being strained to their fathers’ legacy they were able to innovate new methods of agriculture, without being chained to the old-world traditions, they were able to think outside of the box.

“Years passed by, the Israeli farmers and researchers had a good success, but they also understood that relying only on the new world was like walking on one leg, it is possible but less stable.

“Researches were done and slowly they combined the traditional agriculture into a new agriculture, invented the drip irrigation, the water desalination, the cherry tomatoes”.
Mrs Cooper said today, a century later, although Israel is still a desert, it has no water problem, water is being recycled, reused and desalinated in the highest percentage in the world.

She said Israel has become one of the most advanced countries in the world for precise agriculture and exports the majority of fruits and vegetables.
The Israeli Ambassador said the Israeli Development and Cooperation Agency (MAHSAV) has been training people from all around the world, including Ghana, in agriculture.

She said in 2018 alone more than 100 Ghanaians were trained in agriculture, in short- and long-term courses, “Israeli companies are spread around the world providing innovative solutions for specific challenges, while on the other hand, creating a whole project from scratch”.

Credit: The Finder

(By: John Elliot HAGAN)