Day one of the Western and Central Africa workshop is coming to a close. This morning we had the honor and privilege of having the Honorable minister of agriculture at the opening session of the workshop.
The minister reminded the gathering that the workshop coincides with the celebration of Farmers' Day which is an important day for Ghana, a day that the country honours farmers for their untiring and relentless efforts of feeding the nation.
"The food crisis experienced recently was a loud awakening to the world, particularly for those of us in developing countries as we now need to redouble our efforts and better plan for our nation's food security", said the minister.
In his speech, the minister reminded the audience that by 2050 world population would reach 9.1 billion, and that nearly half of the additional 2.3 billion people in the next 40 years will reside in developing countries.
The minister then proceeded to say: "Feeding these extra people is a challenge we need to recognize and plan for. The 'business as usual' approach will be catastrophic."
"The time is ripe for us to rethink our agricultural development efforts, recognizing that agriculture is no longer just a production tool for industry but a tool for satisfying objectives of growth, poverty reduction, food security and sustainable rural development in a complex setting influenced by globalization and climate change."
The minister shared Ghana's strategy for reviving and strengthening the agriculture sector. "I are planning to revolutionize agriculture. I have promised to double rice production in two years", pledged the minister.
He concluded by sharing the key principles behind Ghana's Food and Agriculture Development Policy:
- value chain approach
- focus on selected commodities for greater impact
- diversification for income generation and stability
- enhanced productivity
- transforming smallholders through improved organization of farmer-based organizations
- public-private partnership
- improved coordination and harmonization in the agriculture sector
The afternoon sessions were dedicated to country team meetings, where the participants reviewed the Douala action plan and reported on progress, opportunities and challenges.