Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has indicated that the Akufo-Addo administration is going to invest about half a billion dollars into revamping the country’s farm mechanization centres.
According to him, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the last eight years of its tenure destroyed all 167 farm mechanization centres bequeathed to it by the erstwhile President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration.
He made this known on Wednesday in Accra, in an interview with the media on the sidelines of a courtesy call paid on him by former United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Mr. Blair’s visit to the Agriculture Minister was to among other things, discuss investment opportunities in Ghana’s Agric sector.
The Minister indicated that Government has entered into an agreement with Brazil and was taking delivery of the three tranches of machineries for the agricultural sector.
The three, he said is worth about $99 million and that in the next 10 days, the Indian Eximbank would be signing a $150 million agric mechanization scheme for Ghana.
He also noted that there was an additional support expected from Czech Republic, all of which he said would amount to about half a billion dollars.
The level of investment in mechanization, he said, was unprecedented and that it has never happened in the history of Ghana.
According to him, government’s aim was to improve food yields in the country, noting emphatically that after inheriting a 60,000 tonnes of soya beans from the NDC, the Akufo-Addo’s administration has succeeded in increasing the tonnage to 100,000 and that there were plans to further boost production to about 200,000.
He indicated that Government was planning to roll out another agric programme dubbed rearing for food and jobs.
The initiative, he said, is to revive the livestock industry in the country and provide more protein for the nation as well as create additional avenue for export.
He stated that government was looking at ways to diversify the economy and move away from its over reliance on cocoa as the major cash crop.
He indicated that this month, President Akufo-Addo would launch a program dubbed planting for export and rural development which will see the production of six exportable cash crops including coffee, cashew, coconut, mango.
He indicated that Government would also invest in the establishment of vegetable hubs or green villages.
Again, the Minister explained that in 2019, Government would support about one million farmers nationwide with subsidized seedlings.