Former Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, has said that the country will continue to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial support until it utilizes its natural resources well and pays attention to agriculture.
He mentions that investments in the sector would give rise to giant industries that could make the country self-sufficient and reliant.
“Today, we are at the IMF for the 17th time, and we shall continue to go to the IMF unless we make good use of the matters of the soil, the fruits of the soil naturally given to us by our God,” Prof Oquaye said.
He makes these remarks at the 2023 Akufo Hall National Best Farmers’ Lecture held at the University of Ghana (UG) in Accra.
The lecture focuses on the topic “Resilience, Technology, and Humanism: The Past, the Present, and the Future of the Ghanaian Farmer.”
The purpose of the lecture is to make agriculture attractive to the youth of the country to transform their lives.
Prof Oquaye points out that countries like India saw the benefits of agriculture and took advantage of it, enabling them to produce enough food to feed their citizens and other nationals.
He notes that India is not concerned about the war in Russia and Ukraine because it does not depend on the two countries for food.
Ghana, however, is seriously affected by the war due to its reliance on the two countries for food despite the vast arable lands it possesses, Prof Oquaye mentions.
He calls on the government to pay critical attention to the efforts of the University of Ghana through Akuafo Hall in fostering the interest of the youth in agriculture and to build on that momentum.
“If our farmers can sustain us so that we can have food in abundance and not import over-stored food, then Ghana will not catch cold when Russia and Ukraine sneeze,” he emphasizes.
Prof Kwaku Oppong Asante, Akuafo Hall Master, states that the Hall is ready to host a Farmers’ Center of Excellence to spearhead the monitoring of students who would show interest in making farming a business.
He also mentions that the Hall would provide an office on campus to the National Best Farmer and take charge of organizing a farmer’s symposium to be held annually, all in an effort to make farming attractive to the youth.