A day’s seminar on development of food value chain in Africa 2016, aimed at offering Ghanaian farmers the opportunity to network and gained knowledge from Japanese companies in Africa, on Food Value Chain and technology know-how is underway in Accra.
It is being organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries MAFF, under the theme, “Creating New Markets by Linking Consumers, Producers, Farmers and Economies”. It is to forge collaboration between the two countries to increase awareness of food value chain in Africa.
It would also enable Japanese companies to offer assistance to participants on how to improve Food Value Chain in Africa, with the aim of creating new market by linking consumers, producers and farmers.
Mr Nicholas Neequaye, Director, Agribusiness Unit of MOFA, said the Ministry was involved in a lot of initiatives to increase yield of farm produce, especially rice production in Ghana.
The Ministry, he said, is also providing support in terms of input, fertilizer, research into improved varieties, and land acquisition, among others, which also aimed at increasing farm produce in the country.
He said the problem Ghanaian rice farmers face is the preparation of the land and the Ministry is trying to bring in more tractors to address the challenges of land preparation.
“We are also finding solutions to harvesting, storage and finding markets for the produce,” he added.
Mr Neequaye said to improve the value chain the Ministry provided milling facilities to rice farmers and currently Ghana has the largest rice miller in the Northern Region.
He noted that though people complained about change in taste of local rice as compared to the imported ones, “these millers are state of- the- art machineries with the capacity to provide first quality grade of rice.
He said the challenges are that demand for rice consumption in Ghana is always increasing, which means that they have to speed up production to meet the demand.
Currently, he said the country produces between 400,000 tons and 500,000 tons of rice annually and expressed the hope that with the various interventions the Ministry is bringing on board Ghana would be able to increase production in the near future.
Answering question on what the Ministry is doing to retrieve its productive lands being encroached upon by real estate developers, Mr Neequaye said, the MOFA is determined to take back all its arable lands for agricultural purposes.
He stressed the need to enforce the land use policy to give clear demarcation of farming lands and those that are for real estate development.
Mr Shigeru Umetsu, Charge d’ Affaires of the Japan Embassy, said Value Chain Development is relatively new approach to Agricultural Development in Africa as a whole and in particular.
He said the approach is gradually gaining prominence and becoming the center-piece for agricultural development strategies.
“Establishment of Food Value Chain is key to success for not only the agricultural sector but the general Ghanaian Economy as well,” he said and expressed the hope that the enriching experiences that would be gained would be put into good use in their various companies.
Five Japanese companies in Africa are attending the seminar to showcase their machineries, products and technical know-how.