A WHOPPING GH¢1.3 billion was spent on the importation of rice into the country in 2016/17; Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo has revealed.
“This is, indeed, sad because we can grow rice anywhere in Ghana,” he grieved.
Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking at the opening of the maiden Applied Research Conference of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Ghana in Ho, earlier on Monday.
He pointed out that the amount could have been used rather on the importation of machinery and medications in the better interest of the nation.
“If you want to develop, produce food and do not import food,” he added.
The Senior Minister maintained that Ghana was naturally blessed with all the resources to produce food bountifully; adding that poultry and poultry feed could also be produced in Ghana on globally massive scales without the need to import them.
For that matter, he said government was more concerned about an education system such as Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) which would respond readily to the development needs of the country and promote rapid growth.
“If we can produce graduates with the appropriate agricultural skills, then there would be no need for us to import food,” Mr Osafo-Maafo stated.
TVET, he said, held the key to reduce unemployment and empower the average Ghanaian to take advantage of opportunities of the growth and expansion in the economy through initiatives and interventions such as the industrialisation drive and expansion in infrastructure supply.
“We need thinking doers to make this possible. We need TVET to work again,” Mr Osafo-Maafo told the gathering.
Earlier, Professor Ben Q. Honyenuga said that the country needed highly skilled technical personnel to drive the sustainable development agenda.
“In essence, TVET systems of which the technical universities and polytechnics in Ghana are the frontrunners are best placed to help in the training of the skilled workforce that Ghana needs to address its socio-economic and development challenges,” he added.
The two-day conference was under the theme: Positioning TVET for Employability and Sustainable Development.
More than 100 representatives from the eight Technical Universities in the country, and the Wa and Bolgatanga polytechnics, as well as partner universities in Germany participated in the conference.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO