The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has challenged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to implement targeted and deliberate policies to make Ghana self-sufficient in chicken production and save the nation from the huge poultry import bill.
"We have to pursue a very deliberate policy intervention to make sure that we can grow and eat our own chicken," Dr Bawumia emphasized.
This follows an announcement by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, that there was no maize imports this year after the implementation of policies such as the Planting for Food and Jobs which resulted in a bumper harvest.
The Vice President was, therefore, tasking the Ministry to replicate this success in the poultry sub-sector to ensure a drastic reduction, if not an outright cessation, of poultry imports in the next few years.
Vice President Bawumia threw the challenge when he launched the 34th National Farmers' Day in Accra on August 3, 2018. This year's week-long celebration, scheduled to take place in Tamale in the Northern Region, is under the theme: Agriculture: Moving Ghana Beyond Aid.
Vice President Bawumia underscored the importance of the key role agriculture would play in achieving President Akufo-Addo's vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, emphasising that it was time to engineer a sustainable agricultural development path that would assure both national and household food security, improve rural livelihoods and make Ghana agriculture competitive in the world market.
In this light, he said, government would continue to expand the implementation of on-going agricultural programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, which, he said, was expected to see the number of direct beneficiaries rise from 200,000 in 2017 to 500,000 in 2018.
Dr Bawumia said government's approach and strategy for the development of Ghana's agriculture was holistic and transcended the PFJ initiative and that equally important interventions were being rolled out in the irrigation sub-sector in pursuit of the One Village, One Dam programme.
He explained that under the One Village, One Dam programme, being implemented in the three northern regions, about 570 dams would be constructed by next year. The Vice President said the increase in agricultural productivity meant that focus should be on processing and, hence the One District, One Factory flagship programme which was also on course.
He identified the road sector as a major area in terms of the challenges that the agricultural sector generally faced, adding that the Akufo-Addo Plan for Economic Transformation as outlined in the 2017 budget, largely focused on improving agricultural productivity.
Dr Bawumia indicated that at the heart of this programme was to ensure that critical roads across the whole country were fixed so that agricultural produce could move to market.
He disclosed that a billion dollar would be invested in road infrastructure, starting this year, under the Sinohydro barter facility that had been arranged.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)