Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, has stated that a vibrant agribusiness sector is key to the new paradigm of trade and not aid.
He said for this to happen, there was the need to continue with the effort to strengthen the collaboration between government and its development partners and to implement well-directed public policies to incentivize the agricultural sector, especially smallholder farmers in northern Ghana.
Dr Bin Salih stated this in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Peter Maala, the Chief Director of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) during the second agribusiness fair and conference in Wa.
The second agribusiness fair and conference was organised by the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme in North Western Ghana (MOAP NW) on the theme, “Boosting the Agribusiness Potential of North Western Ghana”.
MOAP NW is one of the key pillars of the European Union – Ghana Agriculture Project (EU-GAP), a 145-million Euro EU funded project, which is contributing to higher annual incomes of smallholder farmers’ households and secured permanent jobs along the supported value chains.
The Regional Minister, therefore, commended managers of MOAP NW for the quality and speedy delivery of work so far and also for organizing the maiden agribusiness fair and conference in 2019 in the region.
“I am glad to indicate that the market linkages out of the 2019 fair resulted in a total production of 102.4 metric tons of mango fruits, which were sold to HPW, a mango processing and exporting company located in Accra,” he said.
Dr Bin Salih noted that the benefits of the second agribusiness fair would afford stakeholders to increase their individual efforts to coordinate the delivery of agriculture resources and knowledge and give stakeholders the opportunity to grow, network and better connect to ready and potential markets to increase their incomes in the future.
“And when that happens, North Western Ghana would have turned the corner, and taken its rightful place as a hub in food production and the businesses that come with it,” he said.
Mr Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PPMED), who represented the Minister of Agriculture, noted that the agriculture sector of Ghana needed to be transformed to trigger the socio-economic development of the nation and achieve the objective of providing lifeline for millions of households in terms of food and jobs.
He called for more investments through agribusiness in North Western Ghana, adding that collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders was paramount in harnessing the agribusiness potential of the programme area.
This, he said, would require more investment facilitation through complementary roles and responsibilities of all partners in the sector.
Mr Pieter Smidt Van Gelder, EU Deputy Head of Mission, highlighted the role of the EU and its partners in the promotion of agricultural development in Ghana, adding that the conference provided a platform to exchange views and experiences on the challenges and opportunities of the agriculture sector in Northern Ghana.
Mrs. Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, GIZ Ghana Country Director, emphasized the strong partnership between the Government of Ghana, the EU and the German Government, adding that the crucial cooperation would improve capacity development and income generating opportunities for various groups, especially women and the youth.
“So far, 1,536 jobs have been created since 2018 through MOAP NW interventions”, she disclosed.
The two-day event also comprised a grand exhibition and fair of agribusiness products and services, as well as agri-technology displayed by over 30 exhibitors.