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Former Speaker urges Ghana to harness natural resources and agriculture to break IMF dependency

Former Speaker urges Ghana to harness natural resources and agriculture to break IMF dependency

In a thought-provoking address at the 2023 Akufo Hall National Best Farmers' Lecture held at the (UG) in , Former Speaker of , Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, emphasized that Ghana's reliance on the () for financial aid would persist unless the country optimizes its natural resources and prioritizes agriculture.

Speaking on the theme “Resilience, Technology, and Humanism: The Past, the Present, and the Future of the Ghanaian Farmer,” Prof. Oquaye underscored the transformative potential of investments in agriculture, envisioning the emergence of robust industries that could make Ghana self-sufficient and economically independent.

Highlighting the current trend, Prof. Oquaye noted that Ghana has sought assistance from the IMF for the 17th time, emphasizing the urgent need to harness the nation's soil and agricultural bounty to break this dependency cycle.

The former Speaker urged the government to place significant emphasis on agricultural initiatives, especially those championed by institutions like the University of Ghana's Akuafo Hall, aimed at cultivating the interest of the youth in .

Drawing a parallel with 's success in prioritizing agriculture, Prof. Oquaye pointed out that the benefits of such focus extend beyond mere self-sufficiency.

Unlike Ghana, he noted, India, having invested heavily in its agricultural sector, remains unaffected by global geopolitical events such as the war between and . Ghana's vulnerability to such events, he argued, is a direct consequence of its dependence on these nations for food.

Calling for a paradigm shift, Prof. Oquaye stressed that sustained efforts to make agriculture attractive to the youth could lead to a transformation in the sector.

He urged the government to take heed of initiatives like those led by the University of Ghana's Akuafo Hall and actively support programs that engage and inspire young people to view agriculture as a viable and lucrative career option.

In response to this call to action, Prof. Kwaku Oppong Asante, Akuafo Hall Master, pledged the Hall's commitment to hosting a Farmers' Center of Excellence.

This centre, he explained, would monitor students expressing interest in turning farming into a business, fostering a new generation of agriculturally-minded entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the Hall proposed offering office space on campus to the National Best Farmer and organizing an annual farmer's symposium, all geared towards making farming an appealing and sustainable option for the youth.

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