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'Ghana must invest more in agriculture'Ghana requires substantial and fresh investments in the agricultural sector if the country is to boost growth of the economy sustainably, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ami Mehl, has said.
He observed that the country’s eight million hectares of arable land lying uncultivated could ensure food security when put to use.
“For a country that wants to reduce food imports to save money to cater for other aspects of the economy, the way to go is to produce your own food,” he said.
Available data shows the country spent US$2.2 billion on food imports in 2016.
Mehl, believes the amount would be higher this year if Ghanaian investors look elsewhere rather than investing in agriculture.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for instance, estimates that organic mango farmers in Ghana could take advantage of the US$500 million US organic mango market through exports.
Worryingly, also, an estimated US$150 million worth of fruit juice is said to be imported into the country each year, while demand of local fruit juice processors goes unmet.
The challenge, Mehl believes, is due to the country’s inability to produce more fruits to feed fruit processing companies.
“I represent Israel in Ghana and my goal is to take businesses and investments back to boost Israel’s economy but I also have to be truthful and advise citizens of this country to take agriculture seriously and invest in it” he said.
Speaking to the Goldstreet Business at the Ghana-Israel Chamber of Commerce forum on Thursday, Mehl noted that the most important thing is for the country’s leadership to take an initiative to re-engage investors while making efforts to build stronger relations with other countries to bring in investments.
CEO of GIPC Mr. Yofi Grant, guest speaker at the forum, said that, although Ghana and Israel have good trading relations, Israel’s investment in Ghana, as at 2016, stood at only US$56 million.
The amount, he noted, is on the low side for a country that has a longstanding relationship with Ghana, right from its independence.
“Israel is a leader in agriculture, innovation, technology and several other sectors. It would be prudent that more Israeli companies come to do business in Ghana. We have a good incentive regime for foreign companies that want to do business in Ghana” Grant said.
Publication date: 8/8/2017
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