Agric In Ghana And Some Challenges Facing The Industry And Stakeholders
Ghana has a total land area of about 23.9million hectares out of which 57% is suitable for agricultural purposes. Even though 60% of the country’s labour force is engaged in the sector, its full potential is yet to be realised. In 2010, agricultural growth was 4-5%. Currently the growth rate has increased to 5% to 6% and is expected to continue to increase. Agric in Ghana has the potential to develop into a multi billion dollar industry. The demand for Cocoa continues to climb as China now imports 80-90% of Ghana’s total cocoa production. The cost of cocoa is 205 Ghana Cedis per 48kg bag for the 2011/12 crop. The major stakeholders and the government are looking for ways to partner with investors outside the country to improve agri-business through modern technology, to ensure food security in meeting international requirements. China would like to purchase all of Ghana’s cocoa, but because of the monopoly nature of cocoa, the government is controlling the selling of cocoa in the country. Cocoa prices have increased on the international market.
Listed below are challenges Ghana faces in the agricultural industry.
1. Rain fed agriculture and very few irrigation infrastructure and machinery for farming.
2. Lack of agro-processing facilities – Much of the country’s yield goes to waste due to the lack of storage facilities.
3. Transport – Many farmers travel several hours to reach a produce transportation point.
4. Financing – Obtaining financing and training in how to manage finances at the end of a season are issues. Private investors are not comfortable with cocoa farming because of its seasonal nature.
5. Seasonal – Cocoa is a seasonal harvest and farmers struggle to control pests and diseases.
6. Training – Many cocoa farmers do not understand the criticality of farm maintenance during the off season, which leads to a small yield the next year.
7. Declining Interest – Young people in Ghana perceive farmers to be poor, which discourages them from becoming involved in agribusiness.