Fix the cocoa sector to boost the economy – Duffuor

A former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor has said that Ghana’s agricultural sector is the most important sector for jobs and livelihoods in the rural areas of the country.

He explained that the agribusiness sector has a large multiplier effect on employment, creating several jobs for every additional unit of output.

However, he added, the structure of the agricultural sector continues to be dominated by primary production, with limited agro-processing and value-addition.

The former Governor of the Bank of Ghana said the dynamics of employment in the agricultural sector has changed only slightly over the years but over 70 percent of employment still reside in rural areas. Only limited progress has been made in pulling labor out of agriculture into other productive and industrial jobs due to low productivity of labor in the sector.

Dr Duffuor said these while delivering a public lecturere in Accra on Monday November 29.

He said “Given the importance of the agricultural sector for jobs creation in the Ghanaian economy, we need comprehensive policy reforms to improve the sector’s contribution to the economy and job creation.

“First, improving the quality and effectiveness of public expenditure in agriculture is important in the context of the limited fiscal space. There is need to channel resources into investments in agricultural research and development and the expansion of irrigation networks to generate significant productivity growth and job creation. To boost rural income through agriculture, there is a need to re-direct the sector’s expenditures to better target the commercialization of smallholder farmers and integrate these farmers into the agriculture value chain.

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“Second, improving the environment for agriculture businesses is key to adding value to the existing production and for job creation. There is the need to deepen and quicken the reforms in legal, regulatory, and administrative systems that affect the quality and efficiency of public sector services to agribusinesses and other stakeholders that need to invest in the agricultural value-chain.

“Third, fixing the cocoa sector is also essential given the large size of the cocoa economy. There is a case for more cooperation between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the two main cocoa producers of the world. This could unleash efficiency gains in production and minimize incentives for smuggling and illegal activities due to domestic price differentials.

“To sustain the productivity of the sector, there is the need to improve productive and social infrastructures in the cocoa producing areas and strengthen the role of women and youth in the sector. Ghana’s agricultural sector is brimming with potential and it both could and should be prioritized to maximize the amount of jobs that it yields.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana