PThe Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council (UWRCC) has hosted the maiden ‘Agribusiness Fair and Conference here with a call on farmers to add value to their farm produce before putting them up for sale.
The two-day event sought to showcase agricultural innovations, technology and products as well as promote business to business networking among agribusiness industry players and relevant stakeholders.
It was also to create a networking and marketing experience that would boost agribusiness in the region with a potential for increased productivity, income and jobs along the value chain.
The MOAP project being implemented by the German Co-operation( GIZ ) with funding from the was on the theme, “Exploring agribusiness opportunities for investment in the Upper West Region” and brought together farmers, agro processors, heads of departments and relevant stakeholders along the agriculture value chain.
Addressing participants, the Head of Programme for MOAP, Dr Elke Stumpf said in spite of the fact that agriculture was a lucrative venture, many farmers benefitted very little from it, hence there was the need to focus on better access to agri-finance, market linkage and improved infrastructure.
“The youth who are often referred to as the leaders of tomorrow should be made to see the possibilities of the agricultural sector and that is why a private sector led business approach is indispensable for sustainable economic growth, job creation and income,” she emphasised.
Dr Stumpf was hopeful that the MOFA and other stakeholders would provide the enabling environment for a robust and successful agribusiness.
The Minister of State in charge of agriculture at the Office of the President, Dr Nurah Gyiele indicated that the objective of the MOAP to concentrate on how to market agricultural produce fell in line with government’s policies such as Planting for food and jobs, among others.
“This year, we will introduce four new modules, thus, the green house villages’ programme, planting for export and rural development, rearing for food and jobs and mechanisation centres to improve access to mechanisation services,” Dr Gyiele explained.
The Head of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Sector of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Mr Roberto Schiliro intimated that the EU saw agriculture as a business worth investing and that was why it was supporting Ghana financially in that regard.
“We are looking at resilient agriculture, end product investment approach and standards regulation of agriculture activities to produce quality after adding value to the products,” he explained.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku announced that the Regional Security Council had been proactive in ensuring that peace was maintained to create a serene environment for businesses to thrive.
“The region is strategically located close to neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali and this proximity offers a large market to businesses and potential investors,” he said.
He urged participants from the region to take advantage of the fair and learn new skills and ideas on how to process agriculture produce into finished and semi-finished goods.
The Country Director for the GIZ, Mr Alan Walsch called for private sector participation in agricultural transformation agenda and urged the government to open the Wa Airport to commercial flights in order to pave way for investors to troupe into the region.
Lydia Darlington Fordjour, Wa