The government has invested more than GH¢ 2.7 billion into its flagship "Planting for Food and Jobs" (PFJ) programme in the last five years of implementation.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the investment mainly covered provision of improved seeds and fertilisers to increase productivity among farmers.
"The value in terms of output of the investment is estimated at GH¢ 49.6 billion ($8.6 billion) implying that every one cedi of investment in improved seeds and fertilisers yielded GH¢18.6 in return," he stated.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of a platform that seeks to strengthen engagement between government and the private sector to address bottlenecks in the agricultural sector.
The "Agriculture Stakeholder Convening and Advocacy platform" would provide for a sustainable and coordinated dialogue among stakeholders on issues affecting the sector to proffer solutions that would sustain agricultural production for the benefit of citizens and the nation at large.
An initiative of the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agriculture Lending (GIRSAL), an agency set up by government to help de-risk agriculture and encourage lending to the sector, the platform brings together players across the agricultural value chain including financial institutions, farmer-based organisations, agribusiness and development partners to pursue the common goal of ensuring a thriving sector.
Dr OwusuAfriyieAkoto said despite global food crisis due to the Ukraine war, local organic fertilisers have stepped in to avert the situation while government accelerates efforts at establishing a fertiliser plant.
He said the platform would be a critical tool to complement government efforts at supporting industry players with grants to modernise agricultural production.
"There is the need for increased private sector investment in the sector and for stronger public-private sector collaboration to contribute to resilient and sustainable food systems in Ghana for economic development," he said.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said stronger partnerships with all stakeholders were critical for building resilient and sustainable food systems.
According to him, the GIRSAL platform was very pertinent in the face of global upheavals for the past three years including the COVID-19 Pandemic and recent Russia-Ukraine war.
"This has resulted in disruptions in the global economy characterised by disruptions in global logistics, and increased prices in goods and services and has brought in its wake, inflationary pressures globally.
We need a different approach for our agricultural sector and we can't continue importing and this platform provides an opportunity for Ghana to reduce its reliance on imports of selected food commodities that can be competitively produced and processed locally," he said
The Chief Executive Officer of GIRSAL, Kwesi Korboe, said since its inception, GIRSAL has signed 22 financial institutions and issued credit guarantees to over GH¢ 600 million in agricultural loans benefitting 87 agribusinesses operating throughout Ghana.
He said the platform would engage stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues affecting the sector and highlight opportunities and recommendations to address them.
"This initiative is a core component of GIRSAL five -year strategic vision which seeks to position the institution as a catalyst for increased agribusiness lending, to build on gains made, and to prioritise selected agricultural value chains to boost local agricultural production and increase exports," he said.