Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, the Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to local and international agribusiness investors to take advantage of the agricultural endowments and invest in the region to create more jobs.
“I invite all prospective investors to explore the rich soils of the north for the production of crops and livestock,” the Minister said.
“The benefits will indeed be very immense to all such investors and I can assure you that a warm reception awaits all of you.”
Alhaji Shaibu made the appeal when the Region took its turn at Agricultural Fair and Trade Exhibition at the Adisadel School Park in Cape Coast, as part of activities to mark the 37th Edition of the National Farmers Day.
He said the enviable location of the region in the Guinea Savannah Ecological Zone made the area suitable conditions for the cultivation of traditional cereals like maize, rice, and millet; legumes including groundnut, cowpea, soybeans; and roots and tubers.
Other plants to be explored include vegetables such as pepper, tomato and okro and tree crops like cashew, mango and shea.
Additionally, they could invest in livestock, the Minister said.
He said the relative peace in the area and the upgraded Tamale Airport to international status to facilitate the transportation of agriculture produce to Europe and beyond are added advantages.
In spite of those huge endowments, only 35 per cent of arable lands, approximately 2,315,43 hectares, were under cultivation in the area, he said, and blamed the situation on the over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture, low mechanisation, high post-harvest loses and poor marketing affecting large scale farming.
With an estimated 2.4 million population and easy access to neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso and Mali, the region has huge market potentials where investors could invest.
The Minister commended farmers for accepting government’s intervention to improve productivity including the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Rearing for Food and Jobs, Agricultural Mechanisation Centres, Green House Technology Village Project, and Planting for Export and Rural Development.
Under the PFJ programme alone, a total of 333,708 farmers comprising 286,354 males and 47,354 females had benefited from the supply of subsidised fertilizer, maize, rice and soya seeds from 2017 to 2021.
In 2021 the region received about 1,889 tonnes of maize (OPV), 1,910 maize hybrid and 4,669 metric tonnes of rice and distributed to farmers while from 2019 to date, a total of 1,168,942 cashew seedlings had been distributed to 4,729 farmers, covering 3,304 hectares under PERD.
The Minister assured prospective investors of the co-operation of the Regional Administration in the agricultural investment drive.
He threw an open invitation to the business community to consider venturing into partnerships with their Ghanaian counterparts in the various aspects of the agricultural value chain in Ghana.
“Our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), traditional rulers and communities have been well sensitised and are ready to receive and facilitate any such investors,” the Minister assured.
The five-day fair, a prelude to the grand durbar on Friday, December 03, 2021, offered farmers in all the 16 political administrative regions of Ghana the platform to display their agricultural prowess.
Exhibitors took advantage of the fair to also showcase their region’s culture and traditions through dancing, drumming, and music on days allocated to them.
At the fair, cutting-edge technology in the agricultural value chain from heavy-to-light-duty agricultural machinery, the latest farming technology and innovations and modern processing methods of farm products are being displayed.
Modern storage and preservation methods for foodstuffs and processed food items, animal husbandry and animal products, are also on exhibition.