MINISTRY OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE/ COUNCIL OF STATE ADDRESS AT THE LAUNCH OF THE METASIP PROGRAM

MINISTRY OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE/ COUNCIL OF STATE ADDRESS AT THE LAUNCH OF THE METASIP PROGRAM ACCRA 21sT JULY 2011

Hon Minister of Transport and acting Minister of Food and Agriculture, Deputy Ministers, your Excellencies, Members of the diplomatic corps, Distinguished invited Guests, the fV1edia, all protocols observed, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for the honor of inviting the Chairman, Council of State, to Chair this august function. Unfortunately he can not make it due to an equally important sate assignment. Hence he has asked me to stand in for him with his very sincere apologies.

The purpose of this meeting today Ladies and Gentlemen is to launch the Medium Term Agric Sector Investment Plan (METASIP 2011- 2015) which you have been working on since October, 2009 shepherded by your special technical teams, committees, and personnel. Two instruments will also be launched alongside, namely the Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS) and the Outgrower and Value Chain Fund (OVCF) to support the implementation.

Ladies and Gentlemen there is no doubt that agriculture remains the main stay of the economies of our African nations inspite of the recent oil finds. There is no earthly reason why Africa with its hot and invigorating climates should be starving and continue to be poor in 21st Century. We need to plan our own strategies to overcome the challenges facing the food and agriculture sectors to enhance economic growth, creating employment, increase incomes, reduce poverty, achieve food security and enhance development as we are doing in this program of action. In Ghana a recent statistical survey has confirmed that more than 60% of our population is agrarian and that the economy inspite of the recent oil finds plus other precious minerals concession must take agriculture seriously and move forward to achieve our millennium goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen, issues like post harvest losses in our agricultural sectors and transportation of our products to the existing markets exacerbated by poor roads, lack of rail, lack of efficient water transport system etc can give serious leakages in your development plans, allover Africa.

The problem of object poverty suffered by African farmers while huge loans or grants are accessed by governments to work on agricultural development plans and strategies must be addressed to alleviate, the poverty we often talk about. In Africa our peasant farmers rarely enjoy any subsidies necessitated by the vagaries of the climate destroying their crops, unlike the western world. Agricultural mishaps are also equally ignored by most governments. There is a need for subsidization which must be built in these plans to encourage lucrative farming.

In Ghana, our Annual Farmers’ Day awards by the Government are only meant to encourage our hardworking farmers. Our farmers deserve more than that, and must be encouraged, subsidized and assisted in every way possible to make our grandiose plans possible. This is the only way to draw our young men and women to the land-as enshrined in the Government’s “Youth in Agric” Plan for the better Ghana agenda.

Finally let me state that I am glad to observe that your plan is continental in character, and not just a small regional approach. Thus the ECOWAS, the AUC and other international bodies have their stakes in solving these problems. We must take cue from advanced nations like the US, Canada and Australia, who have the multi-sectoral approach in solving these huge agricultural problem on continental scale.

Ladies and gentlemen on this note,

I now declare the Medium Term Agric Sector Investment Plan 2011- 2015 duely launched.

I wish you all the best in this launch.

Thank you.