The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ambassador Ami Mehl, has said Ghana cannot continue to do agriculture on a small scale and expect rapid socio-economic growth. The way forward for Ghana, he said, was a large-scale agriculture which, employed the right technology to ensure that there was enough produce to utilise and export.
Ambassador Mehl gave the advice during a visit to the Building Business on Values, Integrity and Dignity (BBOVID) Project, a model agricultural enterprise, in Mpohor in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
The Ambassador, however, said, “The BBOVID example is a brilliant idea of how to use small-scale methods to do big things in the agriculture sector”. He, therefore, urged the decision makers to make the necessary investments in the sector to maximise the benefits.
He suggested that incentives be given to farmers in addition to conducting good research in the sector. “Between five and 10 per cent of the population doing professional agriculture can make good miracles and make the country self-sufficient,” he said.
He questioned why Ghana continued to import rice, poultry and other animal husbandry products whilst the country had good soil, water bodies and pasture to make some real gains in that area.
He expressed worry about the high interest rates charged on loans to those few committed farmers with the desire to feed the country. “If a farmer borrows at the bank to support his business and is made to pay interest between 15 per cent and 28 per cent, then, how can the industry grow?” he asked.
Ambassador Mehl emphasised that agriculture must be well marketed to enhance its benefit as a major sector of the economy, saying the other sectors had to push agriculture to develop because of the prospects it held for national development.
Mr Isaac Ouedraogo, the Director of BBOVID, who took the Ambassador and his team through the facility, urged the Government to ensure long-term and low interest loans to encourage more professionals in the sector.