Agriculture is front page news. On any given day, we may read of large grain sales, food shortages or shortages or surpluses, strikes, boycotts, trade embargoes, tariff and import quotas or export subsidies.
This article takes a different twist. It does sound like your regular fine writings or politically correct polemics you read delightedly at the comfort of your sofa or on typical moments when all you wanted was some catchy and riveting piece. Since the fourth republic, I mean this country, Ghana, here! I could list the countless number of interventions governments have made into promoting agriculture. The questions that many people may ask are, how have we measured up?
And why are some people running away from it? Why is government relentlessly doing everything possible to spark the needed interest from its ever-growing youthful but unemployed population? And why does it look like no one is giving it the needed attention even though it makes the news headline all the time and we even have a national holiday in honour of farmers to that regard? Why has agriculture’s contribution to the national GDP been on the downward trend in recent times? Why is it that, the numerous incubator networks haven’t gotten the needed traction as tech has gotten? I tried answering some on my own but the rest I can only make guesses and hope that my guess will be as good as that of yours.
It is an open secret that agriculture has suffered an indelible plague of prejudices as the occupation of the poor, the unlearned. In fact in my entire life from kindergarten to postgraduate and professional level, never have I heard more than two people wanting to become as lifelong “farmers”. Yes! Farmers. ! For us, agriculture means farming. Holding hoes and cutlasses and subjecting your back to the excruciating pain of the scorching sun and living at the mercy of reptiles---snakes and scorpions. this judgment is so entrenched that even when we have moved from the hamlets and gotten ourselves into goods colleges and becoming managers of agriculture-focused funds and portfolios, we are unable to renege on our long-held judgments and this could translate that, your favorite politician or the renowned speaker you so much admire to see on every billboard and who speaks so eloquently about agriculture at every conference, may not even believe in it after all.
But then, the reality live with us. Agriculture or you if prefer to call it agribusiness is the real mainstay if only proper attention is paid to it—from household to implementation level. Far from hoes and cutlasses and the fear of being bitten by snakes and scorpion, agriculture translates technology, agriculture is innovation. It is as sexy as entertainment or red carpet shows.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the world population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050, and to feed that number of people, global food production will need to grow by 70%. For Africa, which is projected to home to about 2 billion people by then, farm productivity must accelerate at a faster rate than the global average to avoid a calamity continued mass hunger.
Despite this altitudinal challenges, there have emerged many nascent agro start-ups- agri-tech, digital solutions and a rapidly developing new-age funding ecosystem but on the quiet and I can grudgingly say that this is the disconnect between Agri-tech solutions and the small-scale farmers that are in dire need of these solutions.
Having had the opportunity to work with some farm cooperatives and incubator networks in the past, I came to know there is a particular side of agribusiness which has been left off the hook and this it has now become a very big albatross which only tries to sink progress made in the agribusiness chain—infrastructure, manufacturing, processing, supply &logistics and retail.
You see, all these things -- farm strikes, meat boycotts, trade embargoes, tariff and import quotas or export subsidies -- have significant impact on us as human beings, both here in Ghana and internationally and with no apology can only be better understood and predicted under a sound training in the economics of agriculture/agribusiness.
Agriculture with its unique opportunities demands that those in the process of its re-engineering must present the prospects in a clear and understandable manner. Moreover, these persons should endeavor to draw serious curiosity from other sectors.
When we this done, the case where movies directors will always represent those in the agronomy with poverty and lack of education and good destiny will be a thing of the past so then the needed drive could be derived because the future depends on it .