GHANA – Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, has expressed confidence in the nation’s ability to achieve food self-sufficiency by the year 2024, attributing this optimism to strategic measures already implemented by the government.

This came after the minister visited the Agrifest exhibition, a five-day showcase of agriculture and food innovations, where he commended Ghanaians for their commitment to supporting the government’s agenda for food sufficiency.

Minister Ofori Atta outlined the government’s focus on boosting the agricultural sector’s growth from 6.3% in the previous year with the ultimate goal of ending food imports.

This move is expected to save approximately US$2 billion in expenditures related to poultry, rice, and other food imports.

In a bold financial move, the Ministry of Finance has allocated GHc1 billion in the 2024 budget, with an additional GHc2 billion anticipated from the Development Bank of Ghana to bolster the agricultural sector.

As part of the Domestic Debt Exchange Program (DDEP), the government is injecting GHc10 billion into commercial banks to ensure robust financial support for agriculture, underlining its commitment to the sector’s development.

Commending the Asian African Consortium (AAC) during Agrifest, Minister Ofori Atta praised the company’s transformative efforts in Ghana’s rice sub-sector.

The AAC is providing crucial technical and machinery support to smallholder farmers, addressing financial constraints and aiming to make Ghana’s agricultural sector more competitive and sustainable.

Adelaide Siaw Agyepong, CEO of AAC, emphasized the significance of their machinery in pre-farming activities, including land development, crop enhancement, and irrigation.

In conjunction with the 39th National Farmers’ Day celebration, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture launched Agrifest Ghana 2023, a five-day agricultural fair designed to showcase diverse food items and crops from different regions.

This event, initiated under the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs program, aims to raise awareness about various food items, and their sources, and appreciate the dedicated farmers contributing to the nation’s agricultural success.

Despite recent reductions in extreme poverty, Ghana faces inequalities in poverty and nutrition indicators, with widespread micronutrient deficiency, especially among women and children.

The government is actively pursuing agricultural initiatives, aligning with the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017–2024), Planting for Food and Jobs, and One District, One Warehouse policies.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting Ghana’s efforts through a country strategic plan that focuses on addressing malnutrition, reducing post-harvest losses, improving market linkages, enhancing food safety, and building government capacities.

The long-term vision includes efficient, equitable, resilient, and inclusive food systems, achieved through technical and policy support, social protection programming, and public-private partnerships to increase the availability, accessibility, and affordability of nutritious foods.

WFP aims to work with ministries and private sector actors to improve awareness of healthy eating habits, targeting various vulnerable groups in the population.