Five-day food, agriculture fair opens in Accra (Tuesady Dec 1, 2009 Back page)

THE maiden Food and Agriculture Show 2009 (FAGRO 2009) which is to showcase and create marketing avenues for farm produce, agricultural equipment and products opened in Accra on Sunday.
The five-day exhibition, mounted at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park on the theme, "Promoting and Adding Value to Agricultural Production for Poverty Eradication", is aimed at providing a platform for farmers, producers, manufacturers and buyers to interact directly with agricultural service providers and stakeholders in the sector.
It is also expected to boost agriculture through the showcasing of agricultural products, equipment and machinery, as well as promote indigenous Ghanaian food and its nutritional values.
Opening the exhibition, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, said the agricultural sector remained the backbone of the economy, as it employed more than 60 per cent of the country's population.
Additionally, the sector contributed close to 35 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than 49 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.
The farmer, he said, should be the pivot of the country's development agenda and the marketing of his produce should occupy a fundamental place in the agricultural drive.
He said indications were that the poorest people in Ghana were food crop farmers because of their inability to sell their produce, adding that a farmer who could not sell his or her farm produce would live at the subsistence level and remain poor.
He stated that the show would help to whip up interest in the consumption of made-in Ghana agricultural produce, thereby generating revenue that would help reduce poverty.
The Exhibition Director, Ms Alberta Akosa, noted that although agriculture remained a critical development indicator, constraints such as low application of technology, poor agronomic practices, lack of effective marketing activities, among other problems, hampered the growth and productivity of the sector.
The President of the Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana, Mr Philip Abayiri, called for the straightening of the exhibition to make it serve as an effective tool for promoting and attracting investment into the country.
The highlight of the exhibition will be a regional food competition among 10 regional chefs in the country.


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