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Agriculture sector: ready for take-off.

The Agriculture sector in Ghana is the largest economic sector. It employs the most people of all and is also the most geographically diffused owing to Ghana having arable land in nearly all corners of the country. Out of a total land size of 23.9m hectares, about 57% of Ghana's land is suitable for agricultural purposes.


The sector operates mainly in crops such as cereals and starchy crops, livestock including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and fisheries via marine, inland and aquaculture. There is a vibrant forestry sub-sector. Cocoa is the biggest crop and the source of a great percentage of the country's exchange earnings.

Agricultural operations are however mostly subsistence and without the use of modern technology. The vast majority of it is rain-fed and farmers depend almost entirely on the elements. Even cocoa production is conducted on small holdings in the Western, Ashanti and parts of the Brong-Ahalo Region. Despite this, it remains a major earner of foreign exchange for the country and is the recipient of great Government attention and investment. In recent times, Government has moved to mechanise agricultural production in the country.

There are also opportunities in the provision of inputs, technological and support services, standards, training and certification and storage. Irrigation, for which there is great potential but little activity at the moment, is a great opportunity for investors with the will and know-how.

The agriculture sector in Ghana is primed for take-off. The Government is keen to modernise and encourage agro-processing to achieve its avowed aim of making the country the bread basket" of the West African sub region. This makes it the ideal time to partner the Government--which has also put in place several measures to make the sector more attractive--in its vision and most importantly, reap the benefits of the great opportunities occasioned by it.



Oil Seeds and Nuts 123,222,926 63,560,482

Horticultural Products 145,092,444 48,999,719

Fish and Seafood 26,097,407 47,761,091

Coffee/Tea/Mate/Spices 3,149,852 2,925,289

Cereals 779,596 978,010

Other Agricultural 983,901 524,501

Game and Wildlife 42,254 92,322

Dairy Products (Raw) 102,371 70,818

Vegetable Saps and 41,370 21,897

TOTAL 299,512,121 164,934,111


Cocoa Products 209,868,148 685,490,776

Prepared Foods, 82,644,927 196,142,586
Beverages etc

Wood Products 96,811,628 102,256,194

Animal or Vegetable 76,994,805 64,718,359

Dairy Products 4,683,276 14,819,393

Prepared 10,179,442 5,805,614

Animal Feed 15,628,269 2,954,796

Sugar and Sugar 3,056,158 3,329,884

TOTAL 499,866,653 1,075,517,602


Export earnings from the Agricultural sub-sector in 2010 amounted to US$164.93 million compared to US$150.86 million earned in 2009, an increase of 9.34%. The sub-sector contributed 10.12% to the total non-traditional exports earnings in 2010.

Cocoa has historically been a key economic sector and a major source of export and fiscal earnings. Ghana is the world's second largest cocoa-growing country.

During 2009/2010, 569,760,000 tonnes of cocoa was exported generating revenue of US$1,544,370,920. Ghana processes between 18% and 22% of its cocoa output into liquor, paste, and butter for export markets, while all other cocoa is exported in its raw state.

Ghana commands a great share of the African quota of fruit and vegetable exports to the EU. Other leading processed agricultural export products include processed tuna, cut fresh pineapples, other prepared fish and tomato paste.


* Provision of agricultural inputs such as improved seeds and agrochemicals including fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Veterinary drugs, vaccines and chemicals; animal feed and feed ingredients are also required.

* Opportunities exist in the processing of agricultural products such as cereals (maize, rice, millet) starchy crops (yam, cassava, sweet potato, plantain), legumes (carrots, cabbage, garden eggs, tomato), fruits (pineapple, pawpaw, banana, mango), industrial crops (rubber, sugarcane, cotton, oil palm, coconut, cocoa, coffee), livestock (cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep) fisheries (tuna, tilapia, catfish) and rearing of silk worm for the production of raw silk.

* Additionally there is a need for the processing of dairy products as well as the supply of machinery to establish hatcheries for day-old chicks.

* Floriculture offers a lot of opportunities as Ghana's climate and topography make the country suitable for the cultivation of a number of exotic flowers. Species such as heliconia, caribea, celosia, curcuma, gladioli, hibiscus, roses, ornamental palms and ferns perform well under natural conditions. There is potential in the national, regional and European Union markets

* Investment opportunities exist in the agro-processing industry to add value, reduce postharvest losses, promote price stability and expand demand for local agricultural produce. For example, with the processing of cocoa beans into cocoa products and fruits into fruit juices among others.

* Developing irrigable land through irrigation is another key area. While Ghana has a potential irrigable area of 346,000 hectares, only 10,000 hectares have been developed.

* Technological and support services also require investment. Key areas are in the supply and installation of cold chain equipment, packaging and factory building technology. * In the distribution field, companies are required to provide post-production services in transport, packaging and cold vans.

* There are further opportunities in standards, training and certification, capacity building for management and market-oriented enterprises; market intelligence research; and in the development of agricultural finance and insurance.

* Investment opportunities exist in the production of agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides.

* Technology and services in the agricultural sector, which include irrigation, heavy equipment hiring (i.e. hiring of tractors, ploughs, harrows and combine harvesters, etc) provide investment opportunities.

* Investment opportunities also exists in the storage industry. Inadequate and inappropriate storage facilities are constraints to agricultural production thereby contributing to high post-harvest losses and low returns for farmers and processors.
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Title Annotation:AGRICULTURE
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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