Govt sets up GH¢400m fund to revamp agric sector

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture

The government is to establish a GHc400 million fund to revamp the agriculture and agribusiness in the country.

The objective of the fund is to address the risk associated with agriculture so that the sector could attract funding from the private sector.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance who disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at a budget sensitisation workshop for Regional and District Information Officers across the country on Saturday, said the fund formed part of government programmes in the 2018 budget to improve the agriculture sector.

It was organised by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the Information Service Department and the Ministry of Finance.

The minister said the fund was to de-risk the agriculture and agribusiness sector through sustainable agriculture financing and crop insurance schemes.

He disclosed that government would soon launched a major pension scheme for cocoa farmers and develop modern storage facilities through the “One District, One Warehouse” programme.

The minister indicated that government was also planning to launch the commodity exchange to provide ready market for farmers.

He said government had outlined a number of initiatives in the 2018 budget to address the growing unemployment situation in the country.

These initiatives include the National Builders Corp, which was envisaged to employ 100,000 graduates, the National Entrepreneurial Innovation Plan and Planting for Food and Jobs.

He said the Akufo-Addo Plan for Economic Transformation would be implemented to ramp investments under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and abolish duties on some agricultural produce processing equipment and machinery.

The minister commended the Information and Budget Officers for the effective dissemination of the 2017 budget in April, saying I have to “emphasise that this government sees communication as the centre for the economic growth and transformation we envisage.

He entreated the officers to explain into details the 2018 budget to the people at the grassroots.

“Our fine proposals and policies will not work if we do not have the support and buying of the citizenry, we want the citizenry to be active citizens and not spectators and you hold the key to ensure that,” he said.

The Deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah in his address encouraged the Information and Budget officers to break the 2018 budget into simple language for those at the grassroots to understand.

He said the officers did a perfect job on the 2017 budget and was hopeful this year too they would deliver on their mandate.

By Kingsley Asare

 

 

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