Accra, Aug. 6, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah (RTD), Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Wednesday said the time has come for Ghanaians to stop blaming outsiders for the woes of the country's agriculture sector and find a new way of fighting for national interest. He said: "those whom we think are the cause of our problems were fighting for their country's interest and we must also resolve to bring out new ideas to promote our socio-economic development."
Major Quashigah, who was speaking at the Seventh Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) in Accra, said the cry for developed countries to stop giving subsidies to their farmers would not hold because "we are not in any capacity to check whether they are listening to us or not."
The three-day conference on the theme: "Organising for Rural Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Employment", has drawn over 300 delegates from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to take stock of their past performance and put in place new mechanism to guide them for the next four years.
The Minister said Ghanaians themselves were part of the collapse of agriculture in the country because of their negative-spirited approach towards the State Owned Enterprises in Ghana.
He said management, including members of Boards of Directors showed no commitment and dynamism in their duties in the management of those heavily financed businesses in trust for the people. Major Quashigah said it was a pity that although Ghana stepped into the agro industry arena almost at the same time as Thailand, Malaysia, India, Korea and others who have made steady progress, Ghana back-slided several years behind them.
He said the agricultural sector in the sixties and early seventies when agro industries and State farms were the pride of Ghana offered employment to a lot of Ghanaians, particularly in the rural areas where the raw materials for such industries were produced.
The Minister announced that MOFA engineers were trained to build water pumps locally for irrigation projects in the country and plans were underway to set up Mechanisation Services Centres on pilot basis in the 10 regions.
"We have also started training input dealers to offer better services to farmers and in collaboration with researchers, we are developing high yielding and disease resistant seeds and planting materials," he added.
He, therefore, urged GAWU to join hands with MOFA to propagate the idea of value addition to zero waste to eliminate the unpardonable waste in the agricultural sector.