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Gov’t Seeks OPIC Support For Agriculture
Posted on: 27-Aug-2012         Source: dailyguideghana.com
Government is planning to source funds from Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to strengthen the country’s agricultural value chain.

The establishment of two new rice mills and 14 warehouses, as well as four ultra-modern markets with cold storage and health facilities at designated locations would be carried out as part of the plan.

The funds will also go into the construction of two modern abattoirs and milk processing facilities under Government’s medium term agricultural sector investment plan (2011-2015).

Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food & Agriculture stated this while delivering a speech on behalf of President John Mahama at the 4th National Food and Agriculture Show (FAGRO) yesterday in Accra.

According to him, government was looking for public-private partnership for the foregoing opportunities created along the agricultural value chain.

He noted that agricultural land area under cultivation had increased by two percent from 7.3 million hectares in 2009 to 7.5 million hectares in 2011 while irrigated agricultural land had also increased by 1.8 percent from 29,804 hectares in 2009 to 30,345 hectares in 2011.

“Rice production in Ghana increased from 181,000 metric tonnes of milled rice in 2008 to 295,000 metric tonnes in 2010, representing a 63 percent increase and 278 metric tonnes in 2011 representing 54 percent.

Maize production also increased from 1.5 million metric tonnes in 2008 to 1.9 million metric tonnes in 2010, representing a 27 percent increase and 1.7 million metric tonnes in 2011, representing 13 percent. Cassava production also grew from 11.4 million tonnes in 2008 to 14.2 million tonnes in 2011, representing 25 percent increase.

“Yams production increased from 4.9 million metric tonnes in 2008 to 5.9 million metric tonnes in 2011 while plantain recorded 3.3 million metric tonnes in 2008 to 3.6 million metric tonnes in 2011. Meat production increased by 17 percent from 100,935 metric tonnes to 118,504 metric tonnes.”

Mr Ahwoi revealed that poultry also increased by 32 percent from 31,056 metric tonnes in 2008 to 41,008 metric tonnes in 2011 while fish production increased by 1.3 percent from 416,552 metric tonnes in 2008 to 421, 898 metric tonnes in 2011.

The low output for grains and cereals was attributed to inclement weather.

However, Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade & Industry, in an address, said agriculture, which used to be the largest contributor to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), relinquished its position to the services sector as the share of the sector in national output declined from 31.8 percent in 2009 to 25.6 percent in 2011.

The share of the services sector increased from 49.2 percent in 2009 to 52.1 percent in 2010 but declined to 48.5 percent in 2011.

“The rather slow growth of agriculture is due to a combination of factors. Some of these constraints include lack of technological change, poor basic infrastructure, proper irrigation and mechanization development and management and key.”

By Samuel Boadi