“There is food in Ghana, but locked up at the farmgate, things are not well,” Mr. Edward Kareweh, General Secretary, of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has revealed.
He said, “things are not done properly. Improper application of laudable policies has created a problem, where food is cheap at the farm, but expensive on the side of the final consumer.
“Poorly formed relations along most Agricultural value chains in the country were fostering a high degree of predatory behaviour between actors, affecting the sector negatively.”
This predatory, Mr. Kareweh explained, also worsened, and weakened the reinforcing system that limited investments and decreased efficiency and resiliency, preventing competitiveness which overall affected the incomes and willingness of the ordinary farmer to purchase inputs.
Mr. Kareweh was speaking on the theme: “Ghana’s Agricultural Value Chain,” at the 17th Monthly Stakeholders Engagement and Workers’ appreciation day seminar organized by the Ghana News Agency’s Tema Regional Office, which aimed at providing a platform for both state and non-state organizations to address national issues to enhance development.
The event also served as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters toward national development in general, growth, and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.
The GAWU General Secretary argued that government policies must provide specific incentives to agricultural equipment dealers and users to help expand smallholders as key stakeholders.
“So we must not blow our own trumpets that we are working. Let those we are serving judge. We must not praise a project because of its beautiful features, we must do that after seeing results,” he said.
Mr. Kareweh stated that the financial sector was weak and poorly structured to take on capacity-building investments needed to effectively support the agricultural sector in general, specifically the equipment sector, which was hindering the value chain from its massive potential.
He noted that wholesalers had limited interest in building branded retail channels, which passed through to the farmer making it less important as a leverage point for improving broader and more appropriate access for smallholders.
He added that there were larger retailers with multiple outlets that were keenly interested in expanding their distribution networks but were concerned by the risks and cost of setting up new stores because of a failed economic system adding that the country needs a structural bailout.
He stressed that the country currently lacks effective structural policies to optimize the competitiveness of the agricultural value chain.
“Enhancing the competitiveness of the agricultural value chains demands improvement in productivity along the specific value chains for an effective and efficient input supply system,” has stated.
Mr. Kareweh explained that formulating the right policies and allowing them to be championed by competent leaders would improve crop productivity and product quality along the agricultural value chains.
He said there was a need for the government to create an enabling environment to help facilitate linkages between core value chain actors and support services including financial services, technical advisers, and mechanization services to producers.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager explained that “we recognize the excellence in stakeholder engagement, which we believe will assist us GNA and our stakeholders to deliver and ensure that society plays an active watchdog role so that institutions perform.”
He said the Agency was strategically placed as a credible news organization that needed to deepen its relations with its stakeholders for mutual benefit and to advance the prospects of the agency and the country.
By Elizabeth Baah