Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has cited the low welfare of smallholder farmers as the leading challenge to improving crop yields in Ghana.
The minister, at the Leadership for Agriculture Forum, has revealed that some radical programs will be adopted in the coming weeks to make Ghana’s smallholder farmers well-resourced and competitive.
“Our smallholder farmers are one of the poorest in Ghana. We need to fix this imbalance and that is how come we have subsidized fertilizer by over 50 per cent to cut down the cost of farming and subsequently the cost of food,” he said.
Ghana’s agriculture program has been lauded as a suitable model for the African sub-region.
But amidst this success story, the standard of living of many smallholder farmers in Ghana is low.
Dr Afriyie Akoto revealed the government is currently introducing some financial support for these farmers beyond fertilizer subsidies.
Meanwhile, Director for Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – Nick Austin, has challenged all African economies to prioritize the Agric economy as a tool for driving economic growth instead of the traditional oil and gas resources.
He believes Agric in itself can transform the entire economic outlook of not just Ghana but Africa too.
“It is very imperative for all African economies to focus more on Small Holder farmers as these are the very hands that could drive change in the agriculture sector. We at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation are highly focused on helping the Sub-region improve upon its yields,” he said.
The Leadership for Agriculture Forum (L4Ag) is an initiative by the African Development Bank together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.