Dr Akoto woos investors in Dubai
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has described the country as a fertile ground for investment where businesses thrive in a peaceful environment.
He said the stable political atmosphere, coupled with vast opportunities, put the country on the global map as an investment destination.
Dr Akoto was addressing an international forum on the topic: "Effective resources for farmers: Case from the field", at the Food for Future Summit & Expo at the ongoing "Expo 2020 Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week" in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, last Monday.
He is in the UAE at the invitation of the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, Madam Marian bint Mohammed AL Mheiri.
The minister was sharing his perspective on the topic and what Ghana is doing to ensure food security.
Dr Akoto mentioned some of the measures the government had embarked on to ensure food security to include the Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development initiatives, Greenhouse technology and mechanisation, which he said had generated interest in farming among the younger population.
He, however, acknowledged that in spite of the successes chalked up by the flagship programmes, there was still much work to be done to maximise opportunities in the sector.
For instance, the minister said, currently, rice production in the country stood at 622,000 metric tonnes (MT), even though demand was 2,450,000 MT, while demand for soya was 616,200 MT, out of which the country could only produce 209,000 MT.
He said demand for tomatoes was 1,048,000MT, while the country could produce only 437,526 MT; poultry sector demand was 375,000MT, out of which the country could produce 65,415 MT, while dairy production was currently at 56,160 MT, although demand was 466,050 MT.
Dr Akoto further said the country had 13.6 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture, with 6.6 million uncultivated, while 1.9 million hectares were designated as potential for irrigation.
He said there was also a total length of 6,917 water resources in the country, with soil and agro-ecological conditions suitable for multiple crop and livestock production.
"So here is Ghana for you; come and join us to transform the agricultural sector. Opportunities in Ghana are great and you are invited to take advantage and invest," he said.
The minister also said investors could set up large-scale integrated poultry farms, including feed production, hatchery, packaging, cold storage and marketing, as well as vaccine and drug production factories.