Agric commercialisation key to national devt – Prof. Winful
Smallholder farmers must move from being Peasant entrepreneurs to becoming more industrial, a Dean of International Programmes and Institutional Cooperation (DIPC) at the Accra Technical University, Professor Ernest Winful, has said.
He said commercialisation of agriculture was key to national development, hence the need to sensitise farmers to transform into commercial to enable the country achieve food security.
“Smallholder farmers should be conscientised to move from that peasant thinking entrepreneurship into businesswise. This will bring development into the country and its something the country has to look into, food is number one and if we can’t go into technology, agric should be the answer to most of our problems,” he added.
Prof. Winful was speaking at a validation workshop on the State of Agribusiness Social Enterprises in Ghana organised by Social Enterprise Ghana with support from the GIZ AgriBiz Programme in Accra.
The workshop aimed to discuss and share ideas on social enterprise ecosystem in Ghana and how to use research to inform policy makers.
Prof. Winful said statistics indicated that unemployment rate in agribusiness was about 3.3 per cent, which showed that most people failed to venture into the sector.
“Agriculture is an area that a lot of people can venture but how come they have high unemployment rate in Ghana. It is either we do not understand or don’t know these opportunities, therefore we have to hammer more on that,” he added.
He attributed the high unemployment rate in agribusiness to academia with regards to curriculum used in the educational system, especially in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Prof. Winful urged authorities in charge of TVET to collaborate with industry to design curricula that are specifics to enable students meet industrial needs of the country.
The Executive Director of Social Enterprise Ghana, Mr Edwin Zu-Cudjoe, said there were more than 100,000 social enterprises operating in Ghana and 55 per cent of such operated in climate smart agribusiness.
He said social enterprise agribusiness were employing more than 800,000 people and contributed to about $2 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He stated that in spite of the above, social enterprises in agribusiness were bedeviled with challenges, which ranged from difficulties in accessing market, accessing investment, poor irrigation, poor infrastructure, climate change, gender and disability inclusion.
Mr Zu-Cudjoe called on various stakeholders in the entrepreneurship and small business development ecosystem to collaborate to address the social, environmental and economic challenges facing the sector.
The researcher of the report, Prof. Ernest Asamoah, in his presentation, said lack of access to capital was the major barrier to growth in the social enterprise agribusiness sector, followed by lack of access to grant funding.
He recommended that more training in agribusiness are done at the local level and Social Enterprise Innovation Fund be provided to drive Investment.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR