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16.03.2009 General News

Go Into Agri-Business – Veep Urges Turkish Delegation

The Vice President, Mr John Mahama, has expressed worry about the country's inability to process tomatoes, which are cultivated on large scale in parts of the country.

Vice President Mahama said it is completely unacceptable for the country to continue to use hard earned currency to import tomato products, in spite of a perennial national glut of the produce.

'It is difficult to believe that in this time and age, Ghana still imports a number of items, including tomatoes and corn, although we have the land to cultivate them on a large scale,' he quizzed.

Mr Mahama was speaking during an interaction with a Turkish private sector delegation that called on him at the Castle, Osu.

He articulated his frustration about the failure to develop vibrant tomato industry in Ghana and asked them to invest heavily in that area, assuring them of the full support of the government.

He recounted the vision of President Atta Mills to commit sufficient resources to mordenising the country's agricultural sector with emphasis on processing to avoid waste as was the case in many parts of the country.

The Vice President said one of the development programmes of the current government is the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), which will be used as a 'vehicle' to bridge the poverty gap between the northern part of the country and the south.

He said the government is mobilising about $200 million to serve as the initial capital for SADA to focus on two thematic areas of agriculture and infrastructural development.

The delegation also used the opportunity to announce the decision by Turkey to open an embassy in Accra by the end of 2009, following an increase in trade volume between the two countries, averaging ¢153 million as of 2006.

The Consul of Turkey, Mr Kwaku Duodu-Kumi, who led the delegation, applauded President Mills' intention to mordenise Ghana's agriculture sector to add value to food products and reiterated the assurance of the Turkish private sector to contribute towards the realisation of that vision.