The Minister noted that as a government that sees the private sector as the engine of economic growth, it will continue to create the enabling environment to encourage individuals and private entities to invest in the country’s Agriculture for mutual benefit.
Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto made the remarks when he embarked on a day’s working visit to some parts of the Volta Region to inspect rice projects being ran by a joint management of RMG in collaboration with the Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Program (YIAAP), a directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
The collaboration forms part of the government’s flagship program, ‘Plant for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ) through the Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Program (YIAAP).
Under the YIAAP/RMG collaboration, YIAAP supplies inputs to registered youth farmers under a buy-back arrangement to ensure markets for the produce. This means that farmers are given the requisite support and ready market that really pays value for their efforts.
As part of the program, over 11,000 youths are currently engaged in the three northern regions as well as the Volta Region, with a total of over 28,000 acres being utilized for the cultivation of maize and rice.
The RMG Ghana Limited, besides the provision of inputs, has also established a rice processing facility located near Adidome where harvested rice is processed for marketing and consumption.
Whilst commending the management of RMG and YIAAP, and other partners such as COPA, a farmer association, for the effective collaboration, Hon. Dr. Afriyie Akoto said such cooperation will be vital moving forward, in ensuring the success of the government’s agricultural initiatives.
“I want to commend the management of RMG and YIAAP, and their partners for the wonderful work. I think such collaborations with the private sector should be the way to go. As you all know as government, we believe in creating the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive because that is the only way we can grow this economy. What we have seen here today is enough attestation of how effective cooperation between government and the private sector can help achieve results,” He noted.
The Managing Director of RMG Ghana Limited, Mr. William Kotey, said the company is looking forward to increase the number of farmers being sponsored under the program.
He however called on government and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to as a matter of priority, address issues concerning land acquisition, particularly in the Aveyime community.
On his part, the National Coordinator of the Youth in Agriculture & Aquaculture Program, Mr. Klutse Kudomor, thanked the Hon. Minster for his support in re-designing the YIAAP program. ‘The new YIAAP management approach is to ensure that real and sustainable youth agribusiness enterprises are created to absorb the youth and make their pockets ‘cool’ , he noted’.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator for YIAAP has presented to the Minister the first part of repayment for the inputs supplied by the PFJ to the youth. He further assured the Minister of hundred percent repayment.