Ghana Requires An Innovative Business Model For Agric Diversification – Dr Afriyie Akoto3 min read
Speaking at the Vikings Alumni Celebrity Platform Lecture during the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Mensah Sarbah Hall, he highlighted key components that should drive this new model.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto stressed that the success of the innovative business model would depend on a well-structured government approach, efficient supply chain logistics, and improved market access. Additionally, he emphasized the significance of utilizing Big Data and Technology for evidence-based decision-making, investing in Research and Development, and strengthening both input and output market systems. The critical factor, he asserted, was maintaining unwavering political determination to execute the model effectively, as any slackness in implementation could impede progress and affect revenue inflow.
The former Minister of Food and Agriculture underscored the need for prioritizing agricultural transformation at the highest levels of government, with a clear vision and strategy in place. He drew inspiration from the words of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who once said, “Everything can wait, but not agriculture.”
If elected as the NPP Flagbearer and subsequently as President of Ghana, Dr. Afriyie Akoto pledged to establish an Agricultural Management Team (AMT), chaired by the President himself, alongside the Economic Management Team led by the Vice President. The AMT would consist of seven Agric-related Ministries, aiming to drive agricultural development.
To enhance supply chain logistics and expand market access, Dr. Afriyie Akoto proposed investing in infrastructure projects such as feeder roads, hospitals, housing, rural electrification, irrigation, and storage, which would be integral to the agricultural transformation agenda.
Furthermore, he stressed the importance of substantial investments in Big Data and technology to enable precise decision-making, with a focus on involving target users of technology at every stage. This approach would empower the youth and create new job opportunities.
The agricultural economist also highlighted his vision to fund research and development, ensuring resilience to climate change and sustainable yields in farmers’ fields. Investments in science, technology, and innovation would pave the way for prosperity for all, including smallholder farmers.
To strengthen both input and output market systems, Dr. Afriyie Akoto emphasized the establishment of an appropriate regulatory framework to leverage private-sector investment and promote efficient distribution of agro-inputs. He believed that a well-funded and competitive private sector would drive long-term, sustainable agribusiness growth and job creation.
Human development was identified as another key factor in achieving success. Dr. Afriyie Akoto proposed a comprehensive strategy, including farmer field schools, demonstration plots, agropreneur development, agricultural extension agent training, and initiatives to reduce illiteracy among rural households and farmers. He aimed to equip students with agricultural education and skills through curriculum development.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto highlighted the crucial role of agriculture in Ghana’s economy, not only contributing to GDP but also being a significant source of income for the majority of households. He emphasized the need for a new innovative business model, engaging stakeholders across the agri-business value chain, including youth, smallholder farmers, and large-scale farmers, to ensure adequate and affordable food and high-value exports that benefit all.
The overarching vision for Ghana, according to Dr. Afriyie Akoto, is to achieve agriculture-led growth for structural transformation, providing alternative opportunities for boosting foreign exchange reserves, mechanizing the sector, prioritizing public funding, and enhancing productivity in smallholder farms. This approach aims to create a self-reliant, food-secure, wealthy, and healthy nation, reducing the country’s dependence on external borrowing for economic development and financing various social sectors.