The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation Alberta Nana Akyea Akosa has indicated that for agriculture to be reinstated as the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy, certain critical issues need to be addressed. Key among these she mentioned is the prevalent inequalities that abound in the sector. It is an obvious reality that women, for instance, do not receive adequate support in their quest to compete with their male counterparts despite their immense contribution to the sector. She revealed about 70 percent of agricultural workers, 80 percent of food producers and 15 percent those who process basic food, are women. These women, she noted, also undertake 70 percent to 85 percent of the rural marketing. According to her, women contribute up to between 60 and 80 percent of food consumed through the contribution of labour for weeding, planting, harvesting and processing of agro products that result in 70 percent of food production. Despite the high level of involvement, women are still hampered by the lack of key supporting factors such as proper education, improved technology, fair markets structures as well as other productive resources. Madam Alberta was speaking at the opening of the 8th pre-harvest agribusiness exhibition and conference at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale. The pre- harvest event which is being held for three days is expected to attract 2000 participants and exhibitors including value chain actors, especially farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policy makers. The event which is a major interventional exhibitions and conference, seeks to accelerate the transforming of agribusiness in northern Ghana with the government’s planting for food and jobs programme, strong drive by agro-processors to source raw materials locally, a growing band of agribusiness entrepreneurs, and lessons from development partner interventions. It also aims to get the Agribusiness sector to influence transformation, with the heightened focus on public-private partnerships, investment opportunities and creating an action-driven blueprint for an increasingly sustainable agricultural movement. Madam Alberta has therefore appealed to government to support the agricultural sector financially and technically since agriculture will soon take over the reigns of the economy of Ghana. She also commended government for the various interventions being conceived and implemented that aims at adding value to production. The conference was organised by USAID ADVANCE in partnership with World food Programme, Agribusiness foundation, ministry of food and agriculture, northern development authority. Sponsors include yara Ghana, Ecobank, Mel Consult, Tata John Deere, Kosmos Energy, Interplast, LK International, Dizengoff, RMG, Hatoum Trading. It is on the theme; ‘Transforming Agribusiness in northern Ghana; the future starts now’.
By: Lilian D. Walter