The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has stated that the production of a single tree crop such as cashew, coffee, shea butter or coconut can fetch the country GHC2.5 million in revenue in a year.
Government has stepped up its efforts to cash in on the production of six tree crops which include rubber, palm oil, coconut, coffee, shea butter and cashew.
Thus, according to the minister, investing more in these 6 tree crops could rake in GHS15 million a year for the government.
He made the disclosure at the Bono Regional Coordinating Council in Sunyani in the Bono Region on his second day of his regional tour on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
“The President wants to leave a legacy which will yield the country a long time benefit just like cocoa has given the country,” he said.
In the Bono Region, the minister met and interacted with farmers, input suppliers, extension and veterinary officers amongst others which meetings afforded him the chance to have first-hand information on challenges associated with their operations.
Early on Monday, the first day of his tour in Goaso in the Ahafo Region, Dr Afriyie Akoto said government has resolved to turn its attention to the cultivation of more tree crops to ensure that the country rakes in the full benefit.
He said government was determined to place much premium on six more tree crops production.
He charged the District Director in-charge of Asunafo South, Kofi Senti, to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that irrigation facilities in the region were maintained to support this initiative by the government.
And though cashew production was making some progress in the region, he was disappointed at the breakdown of its processing plant at Mim. He, therefore, assured that his ministry would ensure that the plant works again.
Presenting the overall performance of both crops and animal production in the region, the Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Kingsford Nyame, observed that despite some progress made, both crops and animal production were faced with some challenges.
These challenges, he said, included the delay in the release of Modernising Agriculture (MAG) funds to District Agriculture Development Units (DADUs) and fertilisers to district assemblies.
He said the above factors impacted the overall performance of crops and animal production in the region.
Inadequate veterinary staff members also contributed to the low output in the production of animals, he added.
The presentation however, was without the first quarter of 2021 crop yield. This did not sit well the minister who was obviously not happy.
According to Mr Nyame, there was marginal increase in yields of crops like maize, cassava, rice, cocoyam, yam and plantain in 2020.
For instance, he disclosed that “in 2020, rice production recorded 22,028 as compared to 10,494 in 2019.”
Furthermore, the Ahafo regional director of agriculture said animal production in 2020 also saw some increment.
Poultry production, for example, he revealed, recorded a 37.7% increment which is 631,592 in 2020 compared to 393,772 in 2019.
“Sheep production recorded a 24% change with 47,202 in 2020 as compared to 35,756 in 2019,” he disclosed.
Dr Afriyie Akoto seized the chance to urge the regional agriculture directors to work with a sense of urgency to ensure that the investment made in both crops and animal production were realised.
He also tasked them to encourage more women in agriculture activities.
However, Inputs Dealers Association expressed worry about the rather slow supply of inputs.
Later, the minister and his entourage visited the Kenyasi Prison Farm of about 200 acres of land out a total of 600 acres and assured that his outfit would provide the needed machinery to uproot tree stumps to enable the expansion of the farm.
“We paid a courtesy call on the chief of Kenyasi who also complained about the road network”, he added.
Finally, the minister and his team interacted with some women who were into rice production, and promised to support them with machinery to enable them venture into large scale production.