The Minister nominee for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriye-Akoto, has assured that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will invest heavily in infrastructure development to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) into the sector. According to him, the lack of infrastructure development to target agriculture, is the cause of low FDI in the sector, since investors will put funds in areas that will give them good returns.
Answering questions at the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Dr. Afriyie-Akoto criticized the Mahama-led administration for neglecting the agriculture sector resulting in decline in output. “The government of President Akufo-Addo is determined to make agriculture a priority sector in terms of public investment.
Already we are attracting the world’s attention,” he said. He disclosed that, works are already underway to host some foreign investors in the sector, due to assurances given by the government. “Last week, a group came from South Africa, I sent them out to the field to Afram plains, to Kintampo and other places and they came back very excited based on the assurances that I gave them that this government is going to support the sector with infrastructure, roads and so on and all that, and they are coming back with a boat load of cattle, young cattle, sheep and goat,” he said. “Not only that, people have come from America, they are very interested to invest based on what they have heard that we are doing and determined to do,” he added.
He blamed the Mahama-led government for eroding the interest of investors in the sector due to declining infrastructure development. Dr. Akoto-Afriyie pointed out that, the figures since the tenure of the former government, have reflected decline due to neglect. “…Off course, all the resources that I required in terms of the last 8 years when the government of the NDC took over nearly 4 % of total allocation of budget was going to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for agriculture development. That figure has steadily declined to 1.1% in 2014 and 2015,” he said.
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