The government of Ghana seeks to strengthen its cooperation with Israel on agriculture development in order to enhance its own value chain development, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie-Akoto stated here on Thursday.
Opening the Ghana-Israel Agriculture Technology Breakfast Dialogue, the minister said Ghana stood to gain immensely from the cooperation considering Israel’s pedigree in agriculture development.
“Fortunately for me I inherited a project which represents a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement where a private Israeli company is collaborating with my ministry in developing the top end of the market which is the vegetable end of the market,” Afriyie-Akoto stated.
The minister who is an expert in agriculture and a former Principal Economist and Chief Economic Advisor over a period of 18 years at the International Coffee Organization (ICO) described his trip to Israel as an eye-opener .
According to him, “When I got to Israel I realized that the key to their success was government intervention; government providing infrastructure to support the industry which turns doctors, engineers and nurses into farmers; Very successful farmers.
“The first time I have seen academicians of agriculture who were also practitioners of the industry-farmers. I guess that is part of the reasons why Agriculture has been so successful in Israel. Here in Ghana we have come into office with a totally different approach. There are so many aspects which are new; Planting for food and Jobs to create jobs for the teeming youths who are unemployed. And also to raise the productivity of Ghanaian agriculture,” the minister added.
The Ghana dialogue session is a precursor to the 2018 AGRITEC ISRAEL event which will be held later in May.
A Chinese investor in Ghana, Wang Wei who spoke to Xinhua in an interview urged Ghana, to link agriculture development with industrialization as the two are complementary to each other’s development.
“I am doing investment from China to Ghana. This year I am focusing on agriculture investment, because agriculture in Ghana is very promising so my suggestion is that agriculture should be used as the foundation to support the growth of industry,” Wang who also attended the Breakfast Dialogue session urged.
Ghana has initiated two key projects, Planting For Food and Jobs as well as One District-One Factory to ensure growth in the agriculture and industry sector
Wang added that the choice of location for factories should be such that there are abundant agricultural resources to support the factory, while the factories also promote agriculture from factory to the market.
“So if we have the rich resources of agriculture, these support production at the factory; from factory, we go to the market. And the products can be used here in Ghana or can be exported to different countries. So agriculture is the foundation and if we have the foundation we can make the industry work to the benefit of our country , Ghana and benefit our farmers,” he stressed.
The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ami Mehl who also spoke to Xinhua stressed the need for G the West African country to adopt a business approach to its agricultural development in order to achieve its aspirations.
He was convinced that the moment people understood that agriculture was serious business and practiced it as such; and the moment this approach is spread all over the country “Ghana would become an exporter of agriculture products.”
“Agriculture is basic everywhere, not only in Ghana. The moment you supply all your needs That is the moment you are not going to spend money that you do not have which means you are not going to import food
“With experience that we have and experience that Ghana has, we can get better solutions. So this is the cooperation that I see, which I think will bring both of us to the right place,” Mehl added