The Executive Director of the Association of Ghana Industries Seth Twum-Akwaboah has called for a policy that will ensure a reliable and adequate supply of raw materials to Agro processing companies.
This he believes will facilitate a smooth production chain process and guarantee a competitive market for farmers.
The ACI Executive Director said this at the launch of the MADE programme, an initiative to improve the incomes and resilience of poor farmers and small-scale rural entrepreneurs in the SADA zone, with a focus on the agricultural value chains.
The program is being implemented by a local NGO in the Northern Region, Nathan and Associates, with funding support of 14.8 million pounds by DFID.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Twum-Akwaboah also called for a total re-examination of the country’s agricultural policy especially in the north.
He said industry responds better when there is a deliberate structured support policy by government and cited the cassava beer as one of the success stories as far as the arrangement between government and the brewery industry is concerned.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said the partnership is yielding results because lots of farmers are growing cassava.
On the other hand he was saddened by the turn of events in the Pwalugu Tomatoes factory.
“A lot of money was spent in renovating this factory and yet we are unable to have all year round production because raw material production has been a challenge, for industry to strife for agro processing to do well the linkage between agriculture and industry is critical” he said.
While acknowledging the crucial role played by agriculture in the development of the country, the ACI Executive Director said there is the need to link industry and agriculture to facilitate speedy growth and development.
He said about 71 percent of the economically active working population in the north is engaged in agriculture which makes it critical for a policy direction to support agric in the area.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah reiterated the need to link industry and agriculture which is the most critical sector of the country’s development.
He said processers have had to organise out-growers to feed their factories because there do not have raw materials.
He said the future of agriculture in the north demands that new entrants bring in new ideas and enthusiasm to the industry.
Mr Twum-Akwaboah said every effort to bridge the gap between the north and the south should be welcomed.
To resolve problems with the agriculture sector, Mr Twum-Akwaboah said there is the need to revisit some of the barriers that have stifled growth in the sector.
He expressed worry that the two banks established to support agriculture have all become commercial and their portfolio for lending to agric continues to dwindle and hoped the situation will change.