Africa is capable of producing enough food to feed herself and the world, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has stated.
He said Africa could achieve the objective if the challenges facing agriculture such as reliance on rain-fed agriculture, poor seed, and inadequate farm inputs for farmers, were addressed.
Dr Akoto, who stated this in remarks made on his behalf, during the 3-day agribusiness dialogue in Accra on Wednesday, therefore, asked experts in agriculture to come out with ideas, to address challenges facing agriculture on the continent to boost food production.
The programme, organised by 3 Business, the Business Desk of Media General, was on the theme “Converting global food crisis into an opportunity to produce and feed the world.”
As part of the programme 3 Business, launched a campaign to promote Made-in-Ghana products as a way to help restore the value of the cedi.
The campaign which will run till the end of the year is being done in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries through its Greater Accra chapter.
Dr Akoto said the world population was expected to grow by over a third, or 2.3 billion people, between 2009 and 2050 and demand for cereals, for both food and animal feed uses, was projected to reach some 3 billion tonnes by 2050, up from 2.1 billion tonnes which was the original projection.
He said projections show that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 per cent.
“It is obvious from the above that the world requires us, developing countries to double our production. So, it is even not a case of taking advantage of a crisis, but the world actually requires that we double our production otherwise there wouldn’t be enough food for us all,” Dr Akoto, said.
Thus, he said, it was important for Africa to quadruple its current production so that it did not only meet what the world expected of the continent, but Africa became a global player in food production.
He commended 3 Business for organising the dialogue to create a platform to diagnose the problems facing agriculture in the country and come out with solutions to address them to promote food production and urged the panellists to come with workable suggestions to promote the country’s agriculture.
Mr Abraham Odoom, a former Member of Parliament Twifo Atti Morkwaa Constituency, said “an enabling environment should be created for agriculture to thrive.’
He stressed agriculture should be politicised and the sector should be considered as an “Industry” not mere food production.
The 2018 National Best Farmer, James Boateng contributing to the discussion, said structures must be put in place to strengthen the agricultural value chain from planting to consumption.
To this end, he said farmers must supported to get access to good quality seeds for planting, machinery for processing and logistics for storage.
John Dumelo, an actor and farmer, for his part said agriculture must be rebranded to entice the youth, saying agriculture had been portrayed “as punishment” and a profession for people who were old.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE