Israeli Ambassador to Ghana and Liberia, Ami Mehl, has expressed shock over the quantity of rice imported into Ghana.
Interacting with journalists at the B-BOVID agriculture facility in the Mpohor-Wassa East District of the Western Region, the head of the Israeli delegation, said Ghana must take serious measures aimed at improving agricultural practices to reverse the annual import of rice of up to $1 billion and the high importation of poultry products from the Americas.
He said mechanized agriculture must be adopted to drastically cut down the manpower involved, since it employs less manpower and produces higher yield.
Ambassador Mehl added that the way for Ghana was large-scale agriculture which employs the right technology to ensure that the country has enough to utilize and export as well.
“Agribusiness should be large-scale. Ghana is an agricultural country, so there is a lot of potential for agribusiness in Ghana. But it should be on a large-scale. The BBOVID example is a brilliant idea of how to use small-scale methods to do big things in the agriculture sector.”
Mockery of statistics
He said “you can’t have about 60 percent of the population being subsistence farmers and expect growth; rather I suggest that smaller farmer groups come together to form large groups to advance the sector. It’s not good for Ghana to have 50 percent of its population doing farming. 5 to 10 percent of the population that will go professionally into agriculture can make miracles which can make Ghana self-sufficient in agriculture and a strong exporter of agric products.”
Situation in Israel
He said Israel, with its limited land area and scarcity of water, has less than 4 percent of its total population doing agriculture, yet the country is a food exporter due to the implementation of modern farming methods.
He said his country is open to sharing its experience with Ghana on specific agric sectors.
“There are things you don’t have here that I don’t understand. There is no milk industry in Ghana. For us, it’s a very basic thing- milking cows and producing dairy products on a large scale.”
According to the Ambassador, if Ghana really wants to see a change in agriculture as an engine for economic growth, then there must be a change in attitude and mindset towards agric.
High interest rates
Mr. Mehl said Ghana’s current banking system discourages long-term investment into agriculture.
“Interests around 30 percent; I don’t know a business that can make so much profit in such a short time, because it eats all your profits.”
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