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General News Wed, 27 Nov 2019

Agric sector successes not true – Sammy Gyamfi

The National Communications Officer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDc), Sammy Gyamfi has expressed doubts over claims of huge successes of government’s flagship agriculture initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs and Ghana’s Agriculture sector.

According to the NDC Communications Officer, available facts belie the claims as they amount to nothing but “cheap political sloganeering” for which “Ghanaians deserve better!”

Sammy Gyamfi raises what he says are a few pertinent questions that best tell the story of why all is not well with Ghana’s Agric Sector.

1. Why the decline in growth rate for the Agric sector from 6.1% in the year 2017 to 4.8% in 2018, and further down to 2.6% for the first half of 2019 (compared to 4.7% growth recorded for the first half of 2018)?

2. Why the astronomical increase in food imports? For example, annual importation of maize has increased from 31,000mt in 2016 to 50,000mt for 2019 according to the U.S Department of Agric (see Ghana's maize imports over the years.

Also, annual rice importation has increased from $300 million -$400 million in 2016 (see Ghana's rice imports in 2016) and (Africa Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina's concern over Ghana's rice imports of about $400 million) to over $1billion in 2017, 2018 & 2019 (see www.ghanaweb.com and www.myjoyonline.com).

3. Why did the Akufo-Addo government as recently as 2nd January 2019, borrow 2,750 tonnes of cereals (maize, rice, millet and sorghum) from ECOWAS to support the School Feeding Program? Why is Ghana, for the first time in history, borrowing food from ECOWAS in the midst of so-called plenty? And why has the Akufo-Addo government failed to replace the borrowed cereals till date? (See www.myjoyonline.com).

4. Why the steep increases in the prices of food products on the market?

5. Why are poultry farmers complaining about the high cost of poultry feed (maize and soyabeans) as was recently reported by Myjoyonline.com (see publication).

6. Why are farmers all over the country complaining about the smuggling of PF&J fertilizers?

7. Why the persistent decline in annual cocoa production from 969,000mt in 2016/2017 to 904,000mt in 2017/2018 and further down to 811,250mt for the 2018/2019 cocoa season?

8. Finally, why the decline in growth rate for the fisheries sub-sector from 3.1% in 2016 to -1.4% in 2017, with a further nosedive to -6.8% in 2018 and still in the negatives for 2019?

Clearly, the above facts completely belie government’s claims about the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs program and the growth of the Agric sector. On the contrary, the facts show, that Agric sector growth is on a decline and the much-vaunted Planting for Food and Jobs programme is not achieving its expected outcomes.

1. Note that, the so-called bumper harvest in Yam, plantain and other local food produce is a normal seasonal phenomenon that occurs almost every year around this harvesting period and has nothing to do with the much-touted Planting for food and jobs program. In any case, Yam and most of the food stuffs that our NPP friends are boasting about are not even part of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

2. Also, the so-called local rice glut that some media houses are reporting is not factual. Local rice farmers up north are only lamenting the lack of buyers and not because they are producing the current volumes for the first time per se. The situation is mainly as a result of the refusal of local rice milling companies to buy from local rice farmers this year due to the astronomical increase in rice importation. The fact still remains, that the total volume of local rice produced this year is far below the rice consumption needs or total annual rice demand of Ghana. Hence, the claims about local rice glut cannot be true.

"Enough of the NPP’s lies and cheap political sloganeering. Ghanaians deserve better!" Sammy Gyamfi stated.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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