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20.10.2008 General News

Driving the Economy through Agriculture and Industry

By The Statesman

NewPatriotic Party Presidential Candidate Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo has pledged to invest in Ghana's agriculture and industry sectors in order to drive forward the nation"s economic development.

Akufo-Addo's promise follows a record-breaking era for Ghanaian industry and agriculture under the NPP Kufuor government, in which the agriculture sector has seen enormous growth.

During the NPP's two-term rule, growth in the agriculture industry has tripled, with an increase in production across the board.  Production of cocoa in 2006/07 set an all-time record, more than doubling the rate of production under the NDC.

Foreign Direct Investment in Ghana's agriculture is eight times greater under the NPP, with an astounding 22-fold increase in investment in manufacturing and construction.  US$547 million has also been invested in the Millennium Challenge Account, in a move to modernise Ghanaian agriculture.

Building on the achievements of the current government, Akufo-Addo has set out clear goals in the agricultural sector, aiming to further improve development in the industry.

The NPP Presidential Candidate plans establish a US$1 billion Industrial Development Fund, which will provide capital for small and medium enterprises. 

Furthermore, he has promised to open up irrigation to all farmers by 2015, in order to enable year-round production.

Agricultural productivity will also be targeted, with a focus being placed on the use of the latest agricultural technology, such as high-yielding seeds and chemicals, in order to improve crop production.

The promotion of a variety of food and cash crops will be aided by the establishment of special marketing companies, akin to the Ghana Cocoa Board, along with Agricultural-based industries in each of the country's regions, adding value to raw products.

Finally, financial incentives will be provided for the aluminium, iron smelting and salt industries, allowing better productivity.

With a global food crisis threatening world prices and production, now is the time to safeguard Ghana's agricultural and industrial sectors. 

In times such as these, where many of the world's key producers are laying down export bans and high tariffs, it is particularly important that Ghana has a strong agricultural and industrial foundation, in order to lessen the emphasis on importing expensive products from abroad.

As Akufo-Addo has recognised, such goals require a sustained investment in and dedication to the agricultural and industrial sectors, and cannot be realised overnight. 

Quick fixes will not provide long-term solutions, and the NPP flag-bearer's plans hold true to this realisation. 

What Akufo-Addo is offering in his manifesto are long-term strategies, aimed at strengthening the agriculture and industrial sectors - and, in turn, the economy - in order to ensure hope and security for generations to come.