Prof. Festus Ebo Turkson, a Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, , has urged government to pay more attention to the country’s agricultural sector policies, provide credit facility support and as well add value to some products produced in the country.
Prof. Turkson explained the agriculture sector is one of the most promising sectors of the economy. This sector is labour-intensive, which has the potential to provide more employment for Ghanaians and accelerate the country’s economy, he said.
Professor Turkson also disclosed that only five percent (5%) of cashew produced in Ghana is processed, with a chunk of it exported in its raw state to other countries. This, he explained, will not be of help to the economy as revenue gained from these exports will be used to import the same processed cashews into the country.
“We encourage cashew production, but we found out that less than 5 percent of the cashew produced in Ghana is processed. All of it goes raw and that is quite unfortunate. We are doing well with cashew, but we need to add value to cashew before we export, even for domestic consumption so that we don’t import processed cashew into the economy.”
“These are simple manufacturing processes that are labour-intensive, and so they create jobs when that process is going on, and that is definitely the way Ghana needs to go.”Professor Turkson
INDUSTRIALIZATION IS A SOLUTION TO UNEMPLOYMENT
Professor Turkson elaborated on the fact that, failure of the country’s agriculture policies and the lack of support from government to farmers has driven away its attention from valuable agricultural products. Government therefore tends to focus much more on traditional exports like cocoa and gold and ignore other products like cashew that could boost the economy.
He advised that industrialization was key to resolving the unemployment situation in the country, hence government should give much of its focus to the processing of some locally produced foods, and as well subsidize farm inputs such as fertilizers and agrochemicals, which has affected production abilities in the country.
“Agriculture policies have not been paid attention and industrialization has not been a key focus of government policy now our focus is more on services.
“I believe that the one district one factory is the way to go, If only it will be devoid of any political colourisation…we need to pay serious attention to that intervention because it is at the centre of what we call import substitution industrialization and export promotion.”Prof. Festus Ebo Turkson