A major benefit of Government’s digitalization push is the de-risking of the agriculture sector and the building of systems that enable entry, growth and expansion in the sector, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.
Expressing regret that many youth do not consider agriculture as a lifelong career, due to the perceived and reals risks involved, Dr Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government has been guided in its crafting and implementation of policies and programmes by the needs of the youth, especially in agriculture, given the large percentage of Ghanaians employed by the sector.
“The Agriculture sector plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of our country. It is the backbone of our economy, a prominent sector that employs almost 60% of our population, bridging the wealth and income gaps in our society.
“However, the evidence available shows that most of our youth, do not consider Agriculture as a lifelong career. Some people see agriculture as a risky, unprofitable, labour-and capital-intensive occupation. This has led to a sharp decline in the rate of employment in the sector. To address this decline, and make Ghana competitive in the 4th Industrial Revolution, this government embarked on a major digitization drive to modernize the Ghanaian society,” the Vice President disclosed on Monday 28th March, 2022 at the Jubilee House.
Dr Bawumia, who was speaking at an Agricultural Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp organized by the Agrihouse Foundation, said Government has been addressing the major factors militating against the Ghanaian farmer’s desire to expand and compete on the global scene, namely the accurate gathering and storage of data, easier access to credit through the establishment of proper identity and location, and global reach through financial inclusion.
“From the farm, to the factory floor to the office, we are digitizing how we collect data, how we store data and how we use data to improve economic activities. We see digitization as essentially a way of de-risking the agricultural sector because a lot of perceived and real risks do exist.
“As a government we have focused on trying to build the enablers to allow Ghana to be able to compete in the fourth industrial revolution, which is a revolution that is going to be based on data.
“If you don’t have data you cannot analyse, and take effective decisions, whether it is on your farm or the office. You need data to be decide when is the best time to plant, when is the best time to harvest, when is the best time to apply fertilizer, how much water is needed, what is the nature of the soil that I want to plant in. All of this requires data. Countries that invest in the production of that data will be the most competitive in the fourth industrial revolution,” he pointed out.
“We decided to address some of the major bottlenecks that businesses, including those in the agric sector, face. If establishing just your identity is not clear, then we have a problem. If you cannot be found or your location established, there is a problem. And if you do not have financial inclusion to allow everyone participate in the economy, then there is a problem”, he continued.
“That is why we are issuing national identity cards, the Ghana Card. That is also why we have gone ahead to adopt a Digital Address system for Ghana, the Ghana Post GPS. So if the bank or any financial institution has to verify the location of your farm, they can follow it and be sure it’s really where you say it is.
“If you are to be successful in agri-business, the payment system has to be available for you to make payments and receive payments wherever you are, that is why Mobile Money Interoperability has become a major facilitator in effecting payments.”
Dr Bawumia encouraged the students to always have the mindset of possibilities and reasonably resist any attempts at discouragement while trying to introduce anything new.
“You must not be afraid to fail. Indeed, you will not always be successful. But even in failure you will learn something, there are lessons to learn,” he added.
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