The agricultural sector in Ghana is well-established and provides formal and informal employment. The country produces many types of crops in diverse climatic zones across Ghana. Plants that thrive in Ghana include grains, yams, cocoa, timber, oil palms, and kola nuts. These are the foundation of agronomy in Ghana's economy. Ghanaians have realized the importance of agriculture in Ghana and the government has put in place various inputs to assist in improving the sector.
Agricultural products in Ghana
Agriculture in Ghana is fast becoming modernized. New methods of farming such as green- housing and organic farming are also being adopted. Palm oil, rubber, cotton, tobacco, sugar cane and kenaf are the major industrial crops in Ghana. However, they are of no strategic economic importance. The government has not put the same consideration on industrial crops as on export crops even though claims that these crops could assist local development endeavours. Agricultural products in Ghana.
For several decades, cocoa has regulated the agrarian sector in Ghana. Cocoa is one of the country’s highest foreign income earners, being Ghana’s principal cash crop. The crop grows in the forested areas of the country including the Brong-Ahafo Region, Ashanti Region, Eastern Region, Central Region, Western Region, and the Volta Region. All the harvest is traded at fixed prices. Although peasant farmers mostly produce cocoa, a small number of large-scale farmers seem to dominate the trade of the crop. The government oversees the cocoa industry through the Ghana Cocoa Board.
2. Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a versatile crop since it has a variety of purposes. Humans consume the roots and leaves. It is as feed for livestock. The sweet potato is a viable resource and is considered a primary crop. It is mostly grown in the northern parts of Ghana, as well as throughout the country.
3. Food crops and livestock rearing
The chief food crops are corn, cassava, and yam. By 1983, Ghana was self-reliant in only plantains. Livestock-breeding in Ghana is a significant feature factor in the country’s agricultural sector. The sector contributes towards feeding the nation and providing financial income. Commercial farming of livestock has gained popularity. Rearing animals in Ghana can be a profitable experience as long as the herd is fed, housed and vaccinated as it should be.
Reasons why agriculture is important
In most African nations, agriculture has an essential role in creating jobs and generating income. However, due to the introduction of advanced technology and innovation, the sector seems to be taking a back seat in a few nations. These countries would instead import foodstuff such as rice instead of investing in the local farming industry. These farmers could produce enough yield for the country’s consumption and even spare some for export. It is worth noting that the economic benefits of agriculture include contributing to a country’s GDP and accounting for export earnings.
Ghana appreciates the importance of farming and thus, invests in the possibility of agriculture as a way of improving the GDP of the country. Ghana realizes the economic benefits of agriculture and uses it as a sustainable method of empowering women and the youth.
The agricultural sector plays a significant role in the economic development of any country. Agriculture has made a substantial contribution to the economy on developed nations, and its part in the financial independence of the less developed countries is essential.
It can be said that, where per capita income is low, stress is being laid on agriculture and other major industries.
Advantages of agriculture in Economic Growth
The agricultural segment is the foundation of an economy that offers the primary products to humans and raw materials for manufacture.
Therefore, some of the benefits of agriculture to the growth of Ghana’s economy are briefly explained below:
1. Contributes to the national income
The economic background of many progressive nations teaches us that agricultural wealth contributes considerably to boosting economic development. Most leading industrialized nations were once principally agricultural. Today, we see that the developed countries still dominate the sector and agriculture largely contributes to the income of the land.
2. Source of food
One of the main reasons why agriculture is important is because it is the leading supplier of food all over the world. Because of the massive pressure which population is impacting on food supply, the demand is overgrowing. If agriculture does not meet the growing demand of the community, it adversely affects the rate of growth of the economy. Therefore, increasing food supply through the agricultural sector is vital for the economic progression of Ghana.
3. Provides for raw material for various industries
Another importance of farming is its ability to enhance the source of raw materials for the industries that depend on agricultural produce, particularly in developing nations. If farm products are in low supply, it will affect manufacturing and therefore, an increase in prices. Millers, sugar factories, the milk producer, wineries and textile mills among others are dependent on produce from agriculture.
4.Creates and improves infrastructure
Storage, market yards, transportation, and postal services among others are vital for the development of agriculture. Without this infrastructure and services, there is no way agriculture can thrive in any nation. Hence, agriculture creates the need for the creation and improvement of the commercial sector.
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5. Boosts rural prosperity
In countries like Ghana, the rural economy relies on farming and related activities. The increasing agricultural surplus due to the growing agrarian output improves social well-being, especially in rural areas. The standard of life of the rural population rises, and they begin eating a nutritious diet consisting of farm produce such as milk, eggs, ghee, vegetables, and fruits. They may get a better lifestyle selling their product and can afford things that they could not have before.
6. Provides surplus
The development in the agricultural sector has enabled it to produce a surplus for increasing demand for the export of agricultural produce. Earlier on, the growth in the exports earning was necessary due to the strains on the foreign exchange situation required for the funding of imports of first and essential capital merchandises.
7. Provides relief from lack of capital
The growth of the agricultural sector has lessened the burden of most developed nations who faced the deficiency of foreign capital. The availability of foreign capital with other conditions connected to it creates another economic problem.
8. Creates real demand
The growth of the agricultural sector tends to raise the buying ability of agriculturists which would assist in the progress of other areas of a nation. It provides a market for the growth in production. In third world nations, it is evident that most people rely on agriculture and they must afford to purchase produce and end products.
It is, therefore, useful in motivating the development of other sectors of the economy. Likewise, improvement in the output of cash crops may create a path for the promotion of the exchange economy which is sure to assist in expanding the non-agricultural segment. Buying of industrial goods such as pesticides, seeds and farm machinery among other also provide a boost to industrial depression.
9. Phases out economic recession
In the course of economic depression, several industries may be halted or reduce production. However, farming production won’t stop because it produces the necessities of life. Hence, it endures creating effective demand even when the circumstances of the economy are not favourable. Agriculture has seen the improvement of Ghana’s economy and has boosted the country’s tax revenue.
10.Foreign exchange earner for the country
Most developing countries export primary raw materials. These products for export contribute to most of the total export earnings. The capability of importation of capital goods and machinery for the growth of industry relies on the export revenue of the agriculture industry. If exporting agricultural products does not grow at an adequately high rate, such nations will suffer considerable shortfalls in the balance of remittances, causing foreign exchange issues.
The importance of agriculture to Ghana’s economy is very vital. Agricultural development is critical for the economic growth of any nation. Even developed countries emphasize agrarian growth. Agrarian progress is essential for the provision of food for an increasing population, raw materials for industrial use, revenue to support the development of the economy, to earn the country foreign exchange and to provide a market for domestic goods.
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