An integrated agricultural policy devised to transform agriculture and related vocations into self-sustaining businesses in the country is in the offing.
The Food and Agriculture Development Policy (FASDEP II) is tied into the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) to raise incomes in the rural areas and to boost food production and availability.
Mr Joseph Nayan, the Deputy Volta Regional Minister who was addressing the Volta Regional Consultative Workshop of FASDEP, said despite various policy initiatives agricultural production in the country remained low.
He said the agricultural sector, which contributes 40 percent to the GDP and employs around 60 percent of its population, remained crucial to national socio-economic growth.
Mr Nayan stressed the need to modernize agriculture in line with the vision of Ghana becoming a leading food producing country on the continent by 2010.
Farmers, food processors, cooperative workers, food distributors, officers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and staff of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) attended the workshop.
Dr George Kwadzo, a consultant, said FASDEP II was meant to improve on FASDEP I that was developed in 2002.
Dr Ben Nyamadi, a Deputy Director at MOFA said the FASDEP II was crafted to withstand all aspects of challenges from input, including land, through production to marketing and research associated with agricultural production in the country.
He said it was hoped that enough market surveillance would be carried out under the policy to prevent the situation where Ghanaian pineapple producers for export, unaware of changing market trends, cultivated varieties no more in demand and lost.
Dr Nyamadi said to attain the policy objective of universal food security and emergency preparedness, focus at the national levels would be on the development of at most four staple crops; maize, rice, yam and cassava.