The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, yesterday attributed the country’s economic success to the prudent investments the government had made in agriculture.

He said as a result of the sound policy pursued by the government, the
agricultural sector had succeeded largely in bringing down inflation and stabilising other economic indicators.

Opening the second National Food and Agriculture Show (FAGRO 2010) on the theme: “Sustainable Agriculture Through Appropriate Technology” in Accra yesterday, the Vice-President said “this is in addition to other prudent economic measures put in place by the government”.

Exhibitors from Ghana, some neighbouring African countries, Europe and the United States of America are participating in the one-week fair.

The National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association, Feedmillers Association, the Women in Agriculture Development Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and New Holland Tractors are among local exhibitors participating in the fair.

On display at the various stands are farm produce, processed products, animal feeds, local dishes and farming machinery.

Some of the food items include unpolished rice, dried mangoes, herbal medicines, natural cocoa powder, mash and concentrate animal feeds, tractors and harvesters.

The exhibition is being organised by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to empower participants to invest in new technologies and knowledge that would be of benefit to Ghana’s agriculture.

It is also expected to raise the level of knowledge in certain business sectors and portray development impact as employment, improved working conditions and improved environmental standards.

There will be seminars and lectures during the exhibition.

Many of the exhibitors expressed joy at the attendance on the first day as some of them had already sold out some of their items.

The Vice-President said over the years the continent was made to assume that food production was limitless without much attention paid to farmers.

That, he said, had culminated in many African countries relying heavily on food importation, stressing that with the current “rethink of agriculture”, the country was gradually accepting to invest in agriculture.

The Vice-President said the major reforms undertaken by the government to invest heavily in agriculture had yielded considerable results, particularly in the production of cereals.

Plans by the government, he said, were underway to launch heavy investment in agriculture with special focus on medium and large-scale farmers.

The Vice-President said in spite of the significant achievement, the nation’s agriculture was still rudimentary and stressed the need to move into technology as a way of preparing the sector to reach its optimum.

On technology, the Vice-President expressed concern about how technology had not been commercialised and called on scientists to market their innovations instead of leaving them on the shelves to gather dust.

Mr Mahama condemned the rate of smuggling of subsidised fertilisers, particularly along the borders, and predicted a dare consequence for those involved in that economic sabotage.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, in a speech, read on his behalf, said the ministry was currently testing appropriate mechanised technology options for harvesting crops, particularly maize and rice, for various production ecosystems in the country.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh, said the government’s “Better Ghana” agenda could only be achieved if investment was made in the agricultural sector.

The President of National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana, Mr Philip Abayori, said the nation’s traditional production methods and technology being used by farmers and fishermen were either outmoded or inefficient and, therefore, making “our cost of production very high”.

Source: Daily Graphic