President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo on Monday challenged stakeholders in Ghana's agricultural sector to emulate their counterparts in neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire to exploit the country's immense agricultural potentials to create wealth and prosperity.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana's agricultural production statistics paled in comparison to its western neighbour, which had a lesser population of about 22 Million, compared to Ghana's 30 million.
He said, in spite of Cote d'Ivoire's political instability in the past, its agricultural sector had been sustained and continue to grow, largely as a result of the strong foundation and well established structures put in place over the years.
Cote d'Ivoire rakes in annually some 16 billion dollars from agriculture alone, whereas Ghana accrues a meager two billion dollars annually from the sector.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
The association was there to update the President on its working and challenges, and also lay before him a number of requests, which include, roping commercial farmers unto the flagship "Planting for Food and Jobs" Programme, and extend to them, the same considerations extended to smallholder farmers under the Programme.
The President reiterated his administration's resolve to put in the needed investment to make agriculture a game changer in the country's drive for progress and prosperity and a Ghana beyond aid.
He stressed that to offset the low accruals from agricultural production, there was need for the cooperation and active participation of all players in the agricultural sector to take the sector to the apex.
President Akufo-Addo further stated that it was important that farmer associations in the country organised themselves into a coherent and unified body to partner government, to enable them benefit from the economics of scale and improve production, which would make the sector the main driver of country's s economy.
"We take agriculture seriously...it has great potential for the economic fortunes of this country. That is why we have to see agriculture as game changer."
The Association also appealed to the government to consider waiving taxes on fertilizer to enable fertilizer dealers to reduce their prices on the open market.
Commenting on their concerns, the President said it was important for government to build synergies and to broaden the scope to support commercial farmers to drive the agricultural revolution in the country.
He assured that government would consider the suggestion at reducing taxes on fertilizer imports, and develop ways at financing agriculture in the country.
Chairman of the Association, Davies Narh Karboe, said the association had positioned itself to be a major player in government's flagship policies to drive the country's industrialisation agenda.