Mills: Gov't to boost partnership with private sector to improve agriculture
5/19/2012 3:32:58 AM -
President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday said he will not be complacent over the gains made in the agriculture sector, but will continue to provide the necessary infrastructure to encourage more private sector participation in the sector.
That, he said, is vital in revamping the agriculture sector towards achieving sustainable food security and improved welfare of Ghanaians.
President Mills, speaking at an international symposium on "Advancing food and nutrition security," in Washington, USA, in line with the G8 summit, said the government recognised the need for improved food production, and has taken a number of measures in that regard.
Briefing the symposium, attended by more than 500 leaders from governments, businesses, international organisations and civil society, about Ghana's plan for food security, President Mills indicated that the government was partnering more with the private sector for increased investment in the sector.
"We need the private sector on board," he said, assuring that the right infrastructure facilities would be provided by the government. President Mills, who described the symposium as very important to the progress of Africa, said the Northern part of Ghana was being developed to serve as the bread basket of the nation and the West Africa region.
In addition, he expressed government's commitment towards promoting agric-business, indicating that the right facilities were being provided for farmers to derive maximum gains from their operations.
He agreed with a co-discussant, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who noted that agriculture was considered first in his country's economy, saying sustainable agriculture production was critical for national economic growth.
"You can have all the infrastructure facilities, but if you cannot feed yourself then you are not making progress," he said.
The symposium, which had contributions from other African leaders including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, came after President Barrack Obama's keynote address, in which announced the creation of a new initiative- Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition- in which the US would partner developing countries to explore opportunities for sustainable food security.
The partnership for the alliance, which is starting with Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia, President Obama said, would help to would create the right platform to increased investment in and promotion of the agriculture sector in Africa.
"There is no reason Africa should not be able to feed itself and the world," he said, adding that it is possible for Africa to reclaim its status as the net exporter of food.
For a start, he announced that some 45 firms have pledged to support the Alliance with some 3billion dollars to kick-start work.
The Alliance, he was not in to replace any aid program being offered to developing nation, saying the US would continue to deliver on its commitments. He also gave the assurance that the G8 would keep to its promises towards ensuring food security, adding that "we must do what we say."