Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday acceded to a proposal by a delegation from Ghana led by deputy minister for energy and petroleum Benjamin Dagadu to settle progressive farmers in Ghana and assured that a high level delegation from Punjab would visit the African country soon to lay the groundwork for this settlement scheme.
The visiting minister from Ghana, who called on the deputy chief minister at his residence on Wednesday night, said Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama wanted to promote agriculture as a tool of progress and that Ghana would welcome Punjabi expertise in this regard. He said the government of Ghana was also ready to allocate fertile agriculture land on long lease to Punjabi farmers.
A delegation of officers as well as an expert from the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana would visit Ghana to study the process whereby the land could be leased out to Punjabi farmers as well as the suitability of the entire project.
Sukhbir stated that the state government could facilitate farmers to settle down in Ghana in 20,000 to 25,000 acres initially.
The Ghanaian minister, who visited a number of business places in Ludhaina and Jalandhar during his 3-day visit to the state, said his country would also shortly appoint a business counsellor at Ludhiana to initiate a meaningful business relationship with Punjab.
He said Punjab could export finished goods to Ghana and that Punjabi entrepreneurs were also welcome to start manufacturing facilities in Ghana to take advantage of its natural resources, including various minerals, oil, cocoa, palm oil, timber, fish and cotton.
Dagadu also proposed that the biscuit industry in Punjab could be exempted from all custom duties at the point of entry in Ghana. He also offered a brewery firm to open up their business in Ghana.
Leading Sikh businessman from Ghana– Amardeep Singh Hari, who accompanied the Ghanaian delegation, said Ghana would welcome help from Punjab to establish educational institutions, including engineering colleges, there.