Politics of Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Tuesday said his government would use a more integrative approach to raise agricultural production in the country.
He said raising the stakes of agriculture in Ghana’s GDP would mean weaning more than half of the country’s population, who are farmers, out of poverty.
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a huge crowd at Ho Polytechnic Auditorium on his agricultural programme.
He said Agriculture’s current 2.8 per cent contribution to Ghana’s GDP hints of the possibility of the country lapsing into the state of neglect if its main economic activity is in favour of the oil find.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the roots and tubers programme introduced during the Kufuor Administration, which put yam on the market throughout the year, was a good hint of what his government could do.
He said the agricultural programmes under the Millennium Challenge Account were other indications of what linkages in the agricultural production chain could do to boost agricultural production.
Nana Akufo-Addo also mentioned an example by Vegpro, a company at Torgorme in the North-Tongu District, where vast lands were watered from the lake to produce vegetables within six months for the export market.
He said his government would make the vast savannahs across the country cultivable, strategically locate 250 plant pools, make access to credit fluid, improve research on agricultural issues and reduce post harvest losses to considerably increase agricultural production.
Nana Akufo-Addo said many more simple irrigation projects would be introduced across the country and another 20 per cent of farmers added to the current 20 per cent with access to improved maize seeds, within four years, to push maize production up.
He said post harvest infrastructure, warehousing, food marketing and both feeder roads and farm tracks would be actively tackled.
Nana Akufo-Addo said his government would bring back the Ministry of Fisheries to put issues about fishing on the table of cabinet and also use tariff mechanisms and provision of cheaper inputs to redeem the poultry industry from the current hurting competition with imported poultry products.
On cocoa, the NPP Presidential Candidate said his government would use mass spraying and provision of inputs and competitive producer prices to consolidate the one million-tonne production level.
He said it is his conviction that Ghana could process 60 per cent of its cocoa by 2018.
Nana Akufo-Addo said he would also raise the production of non-traditional exports.