Govt targets production of 55,000 mt of meat …under 1st phase of RFJ

Government is targeting the production of 55,000 metric tonnes of meat under the first phase of its “Rearing for Food and Jobs” (RFJ) initiative which seeks to facilitate growth in the country’s livestock industry.

The sector Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto said given the high demand for meat, especially poultry, the country continued to spend huge sums of money on importation of animal products and the RFJ is expected to reverse the trend for food sufficiency.

“For the first year, under the pilot programme, we are starting with the poultry industry and looking at producing 55,000 metric tonnes of meat. Currently we import about 150,000 metric tonnes so depending on the success rate we will step it up in the next three to four years to meet import requirements.”

The Minister was addressing a maiden three-day agribusiness, innovation and technology fair in Accra yesterday.

The summit, jointly organised by Ghana and the government of Israel offered Ghanaians in the agricultural space the opportunity to learn, interact and build business relationships with leading Israeli agri-tech companies interested in investing in the country’s agri-sector.

Held on the theme “Ghana grows with Israel (GHrow-IL) agritech summit 2019”, the workshop focused on three main areas of the sector; input technologies, modern agronomic practices and financing models in agribusiness, to offer both countries the opportunity to leverage on the agricultural value chain for increased productivity.

Dr Afriyie-Akoto said, some 150 chicks will be supplied to farmers along with poultry feed at subsidised rates as part of incentives to attract the youth into the profession, adding that “the same will go for piggery, sheep and goats as well so that we can save our money to build roads, schools, hospital and other infrastructure.”

Touching on the sector growth, the Minister envisaged a 10 per cent growth rate in the next two to three years as government adopted more innovative and modern interventions to boost agriculture, create jobs and wealth for the citizenry.

He mentioned modules including the greenhouse village’s project, creation of mechanisation centres, distribution of improved seeds and innovation financing solutions as “government is introducing a de-risking instrument to provide guarantees and insurance for agricultural financing.”

Ambassador of Israel to Ghana, Shani Cooper, detailed pragmatic measures through the use of technology that had helped the country gain recognition as a world leader in smart agricultural solutions for economic success.

She said at least 18 Israeli companies had expressed interest in investing in Ghana’s agricultural sector to complement efforts at revamping the field for mutual benefit of both countries.

“GHrow-IL summit gives Ghana a unique opportunity to use the Israeli know-how accumulated over thousands of years and Israeli companies represented here are all using both legs: respect for tradition with a spirit of innovation to achieve success,” the Ambassador noted.

In a panel discussion, Chief Executive Officer of Biofeed, Dr Nimrod Israely, believed Ghana had “the opportunity to set example in reducing post harvest losses by adopting modern strategies to increase yields, reduce imports and rather export its produce.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to launch the RFJ on Monday, June 22, in the Upper West Regional Capital Wa, under government flagship policies on agriculture to increase food productivity.

The initiative will begin in the Wa East, Nandom and Sissala West districts as well as Wa and Jirapa municipalities.

By Abigail Annoh and Dorothy Brocke

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