Business News of 2014-04-24

Agricultural sector contribution to GDP, falling - Minister

Agricultural sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell from 31.8 per cent in 2009 to 22 per cent in 2013.
This has allowed the service sector to assume the first place followed by the industry sector.
Mr. Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agricultural, attributed the fall from first place in 2009 to third position in 2013, to the movement of the Ghanaian economy away from agriculture to industry and service sectors.
Speaking at the Meet-The-Press series on Wednesday in Accra, the Minister said: “As the Ghanaian economy matures, just like other maturing economies, people, especially the youth, are no longer showing interest in farming, but want white collar jobs.”
He said the fallen trend of the sector is not peculiar to only Ghana, and cited Botswana and China as countries whose agriculture sector contribution to GDP had also fallen due to similar factors.
Mr. Humado said to address that phenomenon, the Ministry is coming out with a programme dubbed: “Graduate Youth in Agriculture,” where categories of the youth would be employed to handle agricultural machinery and equipment to boost agricultural production in the country.
He said: “In the United States of America, for example, agriculture’s share of the GDP of about 16 trillion dollars in 2013 was 1.1 per cent, industry was 19.5 per cent and service was 79.4 per cent”.
The Minister speculated that, in the coming years, agriculture will lose some ground in terms of percentage, to industry and services, as the country moves towards a service-based economy.
Mr. Humado noted that the key issue now is to ensure that total agriculture production meets the food security, industrial and export needs of the economy.
He said the crops sub-sector, including cocoa, had continued to dominate sub-sectoral contribution and remain the single largest economic activity, accounting for a share of 15.6 per cent in 2013; followed by Construction, 12.6 per cent and then Transport and Storage, 12.2 per cent.
That, the Minister stated, showed that any meaningful programme to grow the economy in the short to medium term needed to be based on the promotion of the crops sub-sector.
The Minister said as at 2013, Ghana was food secured in the production of most food staples such as cassava, yam, cocoyam, sweet potatoes, plantain, Banana, maize, sorghum and Millet.
The challenges, however, were the 30 per cent post-harvest loss rate, inadequate value addition, and processing of food produced.
“Ghana is also doing well with the production of tree crops such as palm oil, citrus, rubber, cashew among others; yet we need to produce more tree crops to feed both local industry and also for export.
“Potential for large investment is declining due to absence of contiguous lands for tree crop development in the forested regions,” he noted.