Ghana will for the second time host the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in September this year in Accra on the theme, “Grow digital, leveraging digital transformation to drive sustainable food systems in Africa”.
Ghana was privileged to host the maiden edition of the AGRF in 2009.
The forum is expected to bring together heads of state and ministers of agriculture to discuss and find solutions to challenges the Malabo Commitments faced and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It would also serve as a platform for partners in the participating communities to formulate agricultural policy tools and mobilise resources for investment.
Launching the forum, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said government’s strategic response in addressing problems facing the sector was the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) targeted at supporting farmers have access improved inputs, extension services, and markets.
According to him the objective is to improve productivity, income and create jobs; ‘In the case of Ghana, after two years of providing input support to farmers, under the PFJ, significantly yield increases have been recorded for targeted crops’.
Dr Akoto said four new modules under PFJ that were being introduced include Greenhouse Villages programme to increase production and exportation of vegetables and flowers, Planting for Export and Rural Development to diversify source of incomes for farmers and increase export earnings.
The rest were Rearing for Food and Jobs aimed at increasing meat production and the creation of mechanisation centres for modernisation and efficiency production.
He said the surge in digital technology over the past few decades has transformed virtually every sector of the global economy.
The minister said the impact was however yet to be fully felt in the agricultural sector, particularly in Africa.
He said biometric registration of farmers was being done to enhance targeting and planning for services.
“We also have in place the e-agriculture resource and call centre that uses mobile phones to call toll-free numbers for information on best farm practices and other agricultural information in local languages such as Ga, Twi, Dagbani, Gurune (Frafra), Ewe, Nzema and Dagaare,” he said.
He said the establishment of the commodity exchange in Ghana was also an innovation that provides businesses the opportunity to trade on a digital platform.
Dr Akoto called for a vibrant private sector to leverage digital technology in the development of food supply chains to boost the overall value of the agricultural sector.
The Board Member of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Mr Frank Braeken said AGRF would provide an opportunity to mobilise continental leadership including the private sector, to invest in the continent’s robust agriculture sector.
By Agnes Opoku Sarpong