President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday urged African leaders to redefine the future of the continent's agriculture by leveraging the benefits of digital revolution to ensure food security for her citizens.
He said the full digitalisation of agriculture presented a great deal of opportunities for Africa's transformative growth and unlocking her vast potential in the agricultural value chain.
Speaking at the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Presidential Summit organised in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said technology was defining future food security and that it was imperative Africa leveraged the digital revolution "to make this our time for agricultural transformation across the continent."
"Digitalisation is a revolution that is here with us and has surely come to stay. Africa has no excuse but to make the most of it.
Whether as leaders of our families, our institutions, our companies, or our countries... tap into this new resource and opportunity at our disposal, to make this our time for agricultural transformation across the continent."
The Summit was attended by some African leaders, including Niger's President, Mahamadou Issoufou, Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edward Ngirente, former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and former Nigerian Leader, Gen, Olusegun Obassanjo, as well as Nane Maria Annan, wife of late Ghanaian global icon, Kofi Annan.
The 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), organised by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Government of Ghana, is under the theme: "Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa."
The event is the world's premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit to policies, programmes and investments to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation in Africa.
The four-day forum in Accra attracted some 2,500 delegates from 79 countries in Africa and across the globe, including Heads of State, Ministers of Agriculture, Central Bank Governors, captains of industry, development partners, representatives of farmer organisations, youth entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholders.
This year's forum focuses primarily on three areas -- leveraging on the digital revolution to leap-frog Africa's agriculture into the future, empowering private sector and SME's and tackling climate change issues.
President Akufo-Addo called on his colleague African Heads of State to prioritise the need to systematically develop policies to deal with the challenges of Agriculture in their respective countries.
His government, he told the gathering, had put the transformation of agriculture at the heart of the nation's priorities because " I believe the majority of people can only feel a change in their lives if we develop agriculture to bring in its wake, rapid economic growth, job creation, reduction in the phenomenon of rural urban migration, improvement in the resilience of communities in the fight against climate change and the achievement of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals."
"If we are to realise these dividends, we must as a matter of urgency confront the many challenges that impede the advancement of the Agriculture sector.
These, the President noted, included inadequate infrastructure, under development value chains, in adequate processing and storage capabilities, poor access to Agricultural financing, high post-harvest loses, low adoption of technologies, low mechanization drive, and weak markets.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that his administration's response to dealing with the challenges of Agriculture in Ghana has been to formulate a national investment plan for Agriculture over the next four years which has been entitled "investing for food and jobs".
"We are rolling out a set of strategic flagship interventions in the various sectors of Agriculture under the programme "Planting for Food and Jobs."
President Akufo-Addo said the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has five main modules namely, the food crops module, the tree crops module, the livestock module, the green house village module and mechanization module. "These comprehensive programme and its innovative policies are already showing good results," the President noted.
Speaking later at a panel discussion moderated by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Akufo-Addo said that agricultural productivity in Ghana had witnessed a steady growth over the past two years due to the increased use of technology in the sector.
Technology, the President indicated, had made a positive impact across the agricultural value chain and enabled the government to build a credible database in the agricultural sector to support efficient policy formulation and implementation.
He indicated that the use of technology had enabled the government to identify targeted interventions and the people involved in agriculture. The data from the sector, he added, had made the government's approach in dealing with the challenges in the sector more efficiently.
"Data in the agricultural sector is much more comprehensive than ever before," he said and indicated that with steady growth in the sector, Ghana could produce to feed the entire West African region in the near future.
President Akufo-Addo was confident that food security was within reach of the Continent, "If we can increase the use of technology in the agricultural sector."
With a population of 1.2, Africa, he noted, had the ability to produce more food to achieve food security on the continent calling for increased intra-regional trade to lift the economic fortune of the continent.
"We need alliances to get technologies that will help us penetrate those markets," he said, adding, "but we first need to ensure that our production is efficient," he added. .
Also on the panel were the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osingbajo, the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and a representative of the African Union Commission.