Stakeholders in agriculture brainstorm to tap benefits of AfCFTA 

Stakeholders in the agriculture yesterday held a workshop to deliberate on how to position and strengthens the sector to be competitive in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The discussions formed part of the “Strengthening structures and framework for the agriculture sector to participate competitively in the AfCFTA” project being implemented.

It was jointly organsied by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the AfCFTA secretariat.

Key among the participants were the regional directors of MOFA who are expected to play significant roles in the AfCFTA vision, especially at the local levels, given that agricultural trading remains one of the important drivers of economic growth as envisioned in the pact.

The AfCFTA, established under the initiative of the African Union, is the largest single global free trade area that is expected to connect 1.3 billion people across 55 countries on the African continent with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.

It is expected to boost intra- Africa trade, increase value chain development, increase investment in various sectors of the economy, improve Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), create employment opportunities and lift about one million Africans out of poverty and deprivation.

Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of MOFA and national coordinator for the project, said Ghana’s food system which relied on the export of most food in raw forms required drastic interventions.

“The introduction of the AfCFTA as envisaged will boost intra-Africa trade, improve value chain development as well as create and improve SME development,” he said.

He added that the AfCFTA had come at the good time, as Ghana had taken giant strides to improve its industrial drive backed by strong export-diversification intervention.

The Chief Director of MOFA, Patrick Ankobiah, expressed the need for institutions to drive, facilitate and help position smallholder farmers/ producers on the right pathways to achieve objectives of the AfCFTA.

“Sharing and breaking down of the body of knowledge on the AfCFTA to the ordinary farmer and value chain actors would create the necessary awareness on its advantages and opportunities,” he added.

The FAO Representative in Ghana, Ndiaga Gueye, said despite the emerging opportunities AfCFTA brought, industry players had indicated some gaps in their preparedness to participate competitively and benefit from the increased envisaged trade prospects of the AfCFTA.

“FAO, therefore through this Technical Cooperation Project is collaborating with its key partner, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and all relevant stakeholders to support actors in the agricultural value chain,” he added.

These, he said included, micro and small holder producers on the procedural processes to participate beneficially in AfCFTA and encourage partnerships and commodity market groupings.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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