Ghana is at a stage where investments made in agriculture would be crucial to the long term growth and sustainability of the country’s economy.
This is according to Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Foster, the Executive Director of Rural and Agricultural Development Associates, an independent consulting firm, who says a significant proportion of the country’s oil revenue would need to be designated for strategic investments in agriculture.
Ghana’s proceeds from oil are estimated to reach about $800 million this year, up from an initial projection of $600 million.
Dr. Abu Sakara told Luv Biz Report that strong political will and courage is required in fashioning out policies for targeted investments in modernizing agriculture, especially in the areas of road infrastructure, access to water and irrigation.
He is confident the windfall from improved agriculture could be bigger than proceeds from crude oil production.
“We are coming from an agriculture dominated economy; we have the relief, potential relief of income and capital from a resource oil that we had not hitherto expected. If the income from that is segmented and we make sure that the constraints that we had hitherto suffered in agriculture are addressed with a portion of that money, to release the full potential of agriculture in the country, then we’ll be getting the bonus from our years of work and investments in agriculture”, Dr. Abu Sakara observed.
He said unlike other countries, Ghana cannot claim ignorance of the impact of neglecting agriculture, as a result of the oil find and is specially calling for attention to the petrochemical industry to reduce the cost of fertilizers for farming.
According to him, “we have spent huge amounts of money on fertilizer for cocoa, fertilizer for our crops. We pay ten times what the American farmer pays for a bag of fertilize and who makes the profit? The people who import fertilizer into this country are the people who are living very comfortably on the back of our farmers here… so let us invest in the petrochemical industry for agriculture products, fertilizer being the key one”.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/Luv Fm/Ghana