The discussions were part of the project “Strengthening structures and framework for the agricultural sector to participate competitively in the AfCFTA” currently being implemented.
It was jointly organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Key participants included MOFA Regional Directors who are expected to play an important role in the AfCFTA vision, especially at the local level, as agricultural trade remains one of the important drivers of economic growth such as contemplated in the pact.
The AfCFTA, established at the initiative of the African Union, is the world’s largest free trade area expected to connect 1.3 billion people across 55 countries across the African continent with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.
It is expected to boost intra-African trade, increase value chain development, increase investment in various sectors of the economy, improve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), create job opportunities and release around one million of Africans from poverty and deprivation.
Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at MOFA and National Project Coordinator, said Ghana’s food system, which relied on the export of most food in raw form , required drastic interventions.
“The introduction of the AfCFTA as envisioned will boost intra-African trade, enhance value chain development as well as create and enhance SME development,” he said.
He added that the AfCFTA came at the right time as Ghana had made giant strides to improve its industrial dynamism backed by a strong export diversification intervention.
Chief Director of MOFA, Patrick Ankobiah, expressed the need for institutions to lead, facilitate and help position smallholder farmers/producers on the right paths to achieve the goals of the AfCFTA.
“Sharing and disseminating the body of knowledge about the AfCFTA to ordinary farmers and value chain actors would create the necessary awareness on its benefits and opportunities,” he added.
The FAO Representative in Ghana, Ndiaga Gueye, said that despite the emerging opportunities offered by the AfCFTA, industry players had indicated some gaps in their preparation to participate competitively and benefit from the increased business prospects envisioned. of the AfCFTA.
“FAO, through this technical cooperation project, is therefore collaborating with its key partner, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and all relevant stakeholders to support actors in the agricultural value chain,” he added.
These, he said, included micro and small producers on procedural processes to beneficially participate in the AfCFTA and encourage commodity market partnerships and clusters.