Business magnate Sir Sam Jonah is calling for a transformation of the Ghanaian economy from an import-driven and dependent kind to one that sees the people eat what they grow.
He says that is the only way the country can come out of the current economic crisis.
“Our insatiable appetite and high demand for any and everything foreign is central to many of the challenges we are facing as a country,” he observed.
“Personally, I feel that unless and until concrete measures and actions are implemented to have an integrated economy, which has at its core, less dependence on foreign goods, I am afraid our economic challenges would be further exacerbated.
“Without a doubt we should start with what we eat. I think it is unconscionable that most of the tilapia we consume comes from China. Our frozen chicken comes from the Netherlands and the US and, of course, we continue to rely on Burkina Faso for our onions and tomatoes.
“Now, I’m told China is exporting cassava and Gari and Yams. The cost of food is a major part of any nation’s economy and it behoves on all of us to do whatever we can to improve accessibility and affordability.”
Sir Sam Jonah proposed these recommendations at a grand durbar to mark the 60th anniversary of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
He was giving the welcome address at the durbar in his capacity as the Chancellor of UCC.
Celebrated on Thursday, October 20, the durbar saw past and present officials of the University, including former Vice Chancellors and Chancellors, in attendance. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also graced the ceremony as the Special Guest of Honour and an honorary alumnus.
Sir Sam Jonah tasked the University to lead in efforts in ensuring efficient implementation of government’s agriculture policies.
“My charge to UCC is that we lead the national effort in ensuring that we use cutting-edge technologies and research to assist with the efficient implementation of government’s agriculture policies.
“Our School of Agriculture must lead the charge in the production of improved varieties of our local foodstuffs, better yielding crops, cheaper poultry and aqcuacultural feeds etc. We are entrusting you with the responsibility of ensuring we grow what we eat and eat what we grow.
“In this regard, I expect you to establish and force strong partnerships, bonds and collaborations with institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research and other relevant local bodies pertinent to the development of our Agricultural sector.
“This urgency and scope of the current global challenges and our own, highlights the importance of cooperation. This is my charge to you and I believe that as a University the success in this endeavour will make us more relevant in the noble fight of our economic emancipation. We owe this to this country.”