Contributed by Emmanuel Osabutey, a YALI Network member from Ghana
Agriculture is the cornerstone of the economies of most developing countries in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in Ghana, agriculture contributes significantly to a country’s GDP. 52 percent of the Ghanaian population is engaged in the agricultural sector. The primary components of agricultural production, such as land, labor, capital, water, favorable weather, and soil, are prevalent in Ghana, which indicates the potential for expansion.
In order to create a larger impact in the agricultural sector in Ghana, several steps must be taken.
These improvements include:
- Making the agricultural sector more attractive to youths
- Expanding the current infrastructure to increase productivity.
- Commercializing the industry.
- Developing agricultural value chains for crop, livestock or fish production.
- Providing seed capital for the youths in agribusiness, and increasing available funding for production expansion.
These priorities, among other initiatives, are very important to the development of the Ghanaian agricultural sector.
Aside from the gaps that must be filled to increase productivity, the agricultural sector is also challenged by the infestation of pests and diseases, post-harvest losses, unfavorable weather conditions, insufficient irrigation facilities, poor road networks, unstable markets for produce, climate change, and inadequate warehousing and cold storage.
In an attempt to improve the sector, there are a lot of development partners and NGOs who are partnering with many state institutions and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to embark on training and capacity building with selected farmers and interested Ghanaians. They are implementing programs aimed at modernizing agriculture, developing the agricultural value chain, creating climate-smart agriculture technology, and establishing venture capital provisions and small loans. To significantly impact agriculture in Ghana, it is imperative to create a conducive environment for more entrepreneurs to invest in the sector.
Several investment avenues exist for entrepreneurs. They are first assured of a peaceful and stable democracy, which helps to ensure their long-term investment in the country without any shock from civil unrest. Additionally, flexible guidelines and institutions, such as the Free Zones Board and the Environmental Protection Agency, help entrepreneurs with compliance issues to guide the conduct of their businesses. Entrepreneurs can engage in the distribution of production inputs like fertilizers, tools, small machines, improved seeds or chemicals, and those with good financial standing and background can become involved in the provision of small loans to farmers in various towns and communities. Entrepreneurs are also able to establish Village Savings and Loans Associations with return on investments to ensure that farmers have access to local funds to carry out their production activities. Lastly, entrepreneurs can facilitate the export of selected commodities, thereby expanding the market for such goods to other countries with large profits.
In summary, making an impact means becoming involved, first by gathering information and data on one of the previously mentioned areas of improvement, and then building connections with the right people to help tackle these issues.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blog posts contributed by members of the YALI Network.