Mofa And PEF Organise Agribusiness Roundtable Forum
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Private Enterprise Foundation, (PEF), have organized a round table forum in Accra to discuss Agricultural Investment in Ghana, to introduce Ghana’s participation in the “Grow Africa Project”. A project that seeks to stimulate greater private sector investments through concrete plans (Investment Blueprints) in order to support the creation of a business enabling environment for the private sector.
The forum which had key stakeholders in the agricultural and private sectors as its participants was also used to highlight opportunities that exist in the sector to make it attractive for private investment; and to announce the creation of an Agribusiness Support Division under the Policy Planning and Monitoring Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The Division is to serve as an interface between the private sector and the government to improve investment in the agriculture sector in addition to providing technical and advisory support on investment in Agribusiness and trade.
H.E John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Oteng Adjei, Minister for Energy, said, it was gratifying to note that Ghana is one of ‘Grow Africa’s Project” seven (7) self-selecting first wave countries which include Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and Kenya.
He added that, it was his hope that the roundtable session will produce a great opportunity to capitalize on and strengthen the ‘Grow Africa Project” and further harness the momentum of the G8 Summit to solidify private sector investments that will facilitate sustainable long-term development of the agricultural sector.
Furthermore, H.E. John Mahama indicated that, the ‘Grow Africa’ platform is ideally placed to support country level efforts and to facilitate private sector investments and partnerships in alignment with regional priorities as in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) plans which is consistent with Ghana’s Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Plan (METASIP).
He announced that, because of the significant impacts that agricultural growth can have on the development of the entire country, Government is investing in the enabling factors of the sector that are necessary to encourage robust investment from private sector partners.
METASIP, which has six objectives listed below, was also cited by him:
- Food security and emergency preparedness
- Growth in incomes
- Access to markets
- Sustainable management of land and environment
- Applied science and technology and
- Enhanced institutional co-ordination
As an initiative based on enhancing productivity along value chains as well as providing small holder farmers with the tools and skills necessary to integrate themselves into supply chains.
According to H.E John Mahama, government’s agribusiness strategy is embedded in the METASIP and it is therefore important in the successful transformation of agriculture.
He added that, it is in this connection that, Government in collaboration with the World Bank and USAID have prepared the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) to realize the policy Objective which will open investment opportunities spanning from private commodity farms to private sector operators along the selected agriculture value chains including input suppliers, processors, traders, exporters, financial institutions, warehouse operators and transporters.
The Export Market and Quality Assurance project, The Northern Rural Growth Programme and the Roots and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme were also cited as some of the projects currently being implemented to provide support in that direction.
H.E John Mahama, indicated that, in as much as Ghana has been noted in the latest World Bank Doing Business 2012 Survey, released in October 2011 as having a relatively healthy economy for investment, there are still some areas for improvement.
In the area of funding for agricultural development, H.E John Mahama, said, Government has set up the Outgrower and Value Chain Fund (OVCF) – a joint grant and loan programme- to support farmers who have clear plans to create nucleus farms and support local out-growers in addition to the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF).
In respect of land accessibility, he indicated that, extensive negotiations with local communities will be facilitated, and a participatory lands rights inventory will be undertaken. He added that, government is working to create a land bank facilitated under the Land Administration Project (LAP II) that would act as an information exchange between landowners willing to lease land and prospective investors.
In conclusion, H.E John Mahama said, the Government of Ghana will be able to develop new opportunities for investment, create growth in the private sector while at the same time relieve some of the financial burden currently placed on the government by allowing the public sector to invest in a broader array of projects to enhance the environment for growth and development by developing policies and platforms that treat the private sector as a true partner.
He assured the country of Governments’ commitment to build an attractive investment climate in Ghana for the private sector to thrive.
Mr. Maurice Tanco Abisa-Seidu, Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in his opening remarks, said the Government of Ghana’s strategy direction as spelt out in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) is to lay the foundation for a structural transformation of the economy based on a modernized agriculture and sustainable exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources which would be underpinned by infrastructural and human development as well as application of science, technology innovations.
He added that, for all these to be achieved, there is the challenge of systematically addressing the structural constraints at the policy and institutional levels that hamper private sector competiveness in agriculture and other sectors.
Mr. Abisa-Seidu indicated that, government’s agricultural policy is to create an enabling environment that is necessary to boost investment by the private sector thus the creation of an Agribusiness Support Division under the Policy Planning and Monitoring Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to serve as an interface between the private sector to improve investment in the agriculture sector in addition to providing technical and advisory support on investment in Agribusiness and trade.
The topics discussed included, Guidelines for Policy Discussions; improving inputs; reducing investors’ transaction costs and risk; supporting transparent, inclusive, evidence-based policy formation based on quality data; overview of Ghana’s participation in “Grow Africa Project ”; introduction of the Agribusiness Support unit Terms of Reference’.