Policy makers, commercial farmers discuss bottle necks affecting agric

Policy makers and commercial farmers across the country have met in Accra to deliberate on available opportunities and bureaucratic bottlenecks that affect commercial agriculture in Ghana.
Drawing participants from commercial forestry, cereal and oil seed producers, the forum also sought to create the foundation for the development of a comprehensive agricultural investment guide in the near future.
Apart from challenges with funding, commercial farmers in the country maintain that there are gaps in the information required by various operators in the sector, both of which need to be dealt with at the highest level of the institutions that play various roles to ensure that an enabling, conducive and transparent environment for investment in the agricultural sector was created.
It is in the light of this that the meeting was organised to also increase the knowledge base of commercial farmers and future investors on various rules, regulations and procedures relevant to their work in the sector.
Organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Africa Lead, a US-based body campaigning to scale up food security in Africa, the forum also discussed policy issues relating to the importation of seeds to Ghana, opportunities for partnering with the private sector in fulfilment of the research needs of commercial farmers and regulations governing fertilisers in the country.

Farmers’ concerns and minister’s response

Giving an overview of commercial farming operations in Ghana, a representative of Africa Atlantic Franchise Farms,  Mr Kris Klokkenga, said infrastructure remained a major obstacle in the sector.
With farms that stretched deep into the belly of the Afram Plains in the Eastern Region, he said the company had to finance even road construction in the area at a cost of $30,000, in addition to building fences as cattle led by Fulani men destroyed farm produce.
“All these are extra costs that we did not budget for but had to add to bear,” he said.
Responding to the concerns, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said the ministry would continue to support initiatives that would ensure food security in Ghana, apart from promoting the viability of commercial farms.
A major concern of commercial farmers in the country is that a lot of the government’s interventions go to small-scale farmers, while commercial farmers are left on their own to source funds and also pay market rates.
But Dr Alhassan noted that “Just as people put money into the petroleum and mining sectors and expect returns, it should also be possible for people who put money into the soil or water to also expect good returns on their investment,” he said.
Various stakeholders at the meeting expressed concern over the rather complex process farmers had to go through in registering for and receiving fertiliser application.
The law regulating the importation of fertilisers, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a 90-day window within which to take decisions on applications, dominated the discussions, as participants asked for a review of the law.
That, the Deputy Director of the EPA, Mr Joseph C. Edmund, said, was necessary to ensure public safety.
“The bottom line is that we want to make the market as safe as possible.”
He, however, said the law was being reviewed, and, therefore, the EPA would take into account the concerns expressed by the farmers during the review process.

GMO-related issues

In a presentation that centred on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biosafety and commercial farming in Ghana, the Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Eric A. Okoree, noted that the National Biosafety Committee had so far approved four applications for field trials in sweet potato, cowpea, rice and cotton.
He gave the assurance that the MESTI would just not allow any genetically modified crops into the country without ensuring that they passed the safety test.
Mr Okoree said the National Biosafety Authority, which would be the main regulator for GMOs, would soon be functional.
- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/26272-policy-makers-commercial-farmers-discuss-bottlenecks-affecting-agriculture.html#sthash.kiluvWu3.dpuf
Policy makers and commercial farmers across the country have met in Accra to deliberate on available opportunities and bureaucratic bottlenecks that affect commercial agriculture in Ghana.
Drawing participants from commercial forestry, cereal and oil seed producers, the forum also sought to create the foundation for the development of a comprehensive agricultural investment guide in the near future.
Apart from challenges with funding, commercial farmers in the country maintain that there are gaps in the information required by various operators in the sector, both of which need to be dealt with at the highest level of the institutions that play various roles to ensure that an enabling, conducive and transparent environment for investment in the agricultural sector was created.
It is in the light of this that the meeting was organised to also increase the knowledge base of commercial farmers and future investors on various rules, regulations and procedures relevant to their work in the sector.
Organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Africa Lead, a US-based body campaigning to scale up food security in Africa, the forum also discussed policy issues relating to the importation of seeds to Ghana, opportunities for partnering with the private sector in fulfilment of the research needs of commercial farmers and regulations governing fertilisers in the country.

Farmers’ concerns and minister’s response

Giving an overview of commercial farming operations in Ghana, a representative of Africa Atlantic Franchise Farms,  Mr Kris Klokkenga, said infrastructure remained a major obstacle in the sector.
With farms that stretched deep into the belly of the Afram Plains in the Eastern Region, he said the company had to finance even road construction in the area at a cost of $30,000, in addition to building fences as cattle led by Fulani men destroyed farm produce.
“All these are extra costs that we did not budget for but had to add to bear,” he said.
Responding to the concerns, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said the ministry would continue to support initiatives that would ensure food security in Ghana, apart from promoting the viability of commercial farms.
A major concern of commercial farmers in the country is that a lot of the government’s interventions go to small-scale farmers, while commercial farmers are left on their own to source funds and also pay market rates.
But Dr Alhassan noted that “Just as people put money into the petroleum and mining sectors and expect returns, it should also be possible for people who put money into the soil or water to also expect good returns on their investment,” he said.
Various stakeholders at the meeting expressed concern over the rather complex process farmers had to go through in registering for and receiving fertiliser application.
The law regulating the importation of fertilisers, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a 90-day window within which to take decisions on applications, dominated the discussions, as participants asked for a review of the law.
That, the Deputy Director of the EPA, Mr Joseph C. Edmund, said, was necessary to ensure public safety.
“The bottom line is that we want to make the market as safe as possible.”
He, however, said the law was being reviewed, and, therefore, the EPA would take into account the concerns expressed by the farmers during the review process.

GMO-related issues

In a presentation that centred on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biosafety and commercial farming in Ghana, the Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Eric A. Okoree, noted that the National Biosafety Committee had so far approved four applications for field trials in sweet potato, cowpea, rice and cotton.
He gave the assurance that the MESTI would just not allow any genetically modified crops into the country without ensuring that they passed the safety test.
Mr Okoree said the National Biosafety Authority, which would be the main regulator for GMOs, would soon be functional.
- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/26272-policy-makers-commercial-farmers-discuss-bottlenecks-affecting-agriculture.html#sthash.kiluvWu3.dpuf
Policy makers and commercial farmers across the country have met in Accra to deliberate on available opportunities and bureaucratic bottlenecks that affect commercial agriculture in Ghana.
Drawing participants from commercial forestry, cereal and oil seed producers, the forum also sought to create the foundation for the development of a comprehensive agricultural investment guide in the near future.
Apart from challenges with funding, commercial farmers in the country maintain that there are gaps in the information required by various operators in the sector, both of which need to be dealt with at the highest level of the institutions that play various roles to ensure that an enabling, conducive and transparent environment for investment in the agricultural sector was created.
It is in the light of this that the meeting was organised to also increase the knowledge base of commercial farmers and future investors on various rules, regulations and procedures relevant to their work in the sector.
Organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Africa Lead, a US-based body campaigning to scale up food security in Africa, the forum also discussed policy issues relating to the importation of seeds to Ghana, opportunities for partnering with the private sector in fulfilment of the research needs of commercial farmers and regulations governing fertilisers in the country.

Farmers’ concerns and minister’s response

Giving an overview of commercial farming operations in Ghana, a representative of Africa Atlantic Franchise Farms,  Mr Kris Klokkenga, said infrastructure remained a major obstacle in the sector.
With farms that stretched deep into the belly of the Afram Plains in the Eastern Region, he said the company had to finance even road construction in the area at a cost of $30,000, in addition to building fences as cattle led by Fulani men destroyed farm produce.
“All these are extra costs that we did not budget for but had to add to bear,” he said.
Responding to the concerns, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said the ministry would continue to support initiatives that would ensure food security in Ghana, apart from promoting the viability of commercial farms.
A major concern of commercial farmers in the country is that a lot of the government’s interventions go to small-scale farmers, while commercial farmers are left on their own to source funds and also pay market rates.
But Dr Alhassan noted that “Just as people put money into the petroleum and mining sectors and expect returns, it should also be possible for people who put money into the soil or water to also expect good returns on their investment,” he said.
Various stakeholders at the meeting expressed concern over the rather complex process farmers had to go through in registering for and receiving fertiliser application.
The law regulating the importation of fertilisers, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a 90-day window within which to take decisions on applications, dominated the discussions, as participants asked for a review of the law.
That, the Deputy Director of the EPA, Mr Joseph C. Edmund, said, was necessary to ensure public safety.
“The bottom line is that we want to make the market as safe as possible.”
He, however, said the law was being reviewed, and, therefore, the EPA would take into account the concerns expressed by the farmers during the review process.

GMO-related issues

In a presentation that centred on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biosafety and commercial farming in Ghana, the Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Eric A. Okoree, noted that the National Biosafety Committee had so far approved four applications for field trials in sweet potato, cowpea, rice and cotton.
He gave the assurance that the MESTI would just not allow any genetically modified crops into the country without ensuring that they passed the safety test.
Mr Okoree said the National Biosafety Authority, which would be the main regulator for GMOs, would soon be functional.
- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/26272-policy-makers-commercial-farmers-discuss-bottlenecks-affecting-agriculture.html#sthash.kiluvWu3.dpuf

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