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General News Mon, 9 Sep 2002

Bridge gap between agric theory and practice - Mahama

For the nation to make a breakthrough in increasing agricultural production to off-set rural poverty, there is the need to bridge the gap between theory and practice, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, former Presidential Adviser, has said.

"There is a world of difference between theory and practice in our agricultural production as those in theory do not want to do anything with their hands. It is still unfortunate that those who are veterinary and agricultural scientists and technical officers shy away from venturing into actual production," he noted.

Alhaji Mahama was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in reaction to a call by Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Integration, to Ghanaians to give suggestions on how to enrich the implementation of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).

Alhaji Mahama said if the agricultural experts complained that they did not have the capital to do so, "then it is an issue of the chicken and the egg. The cycle must be broken somewhere". He said about 70 per cent of Ghanaian farmers are in the rural areas, the majority of whom are old, uneducated and weak and could not therefore increase production to feed the young and the ever increasing population of the nation.

Alhaji Mahama said under the Poverty Alleviation Fund it would be wrong to dish out money to those same old and weak farmers instead of the government establishing or creating the necessary infrastructure and incentives that would be attractive enough to entice the youth and the educated into agriculture.

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"It should be possible for dams to be created in the three northern regions of the country because those there use only about two-and-a-half months throughout the year to farm but they could produce more if they could water their crops throughout the year," he said.

He said money given to individuals could not create such dams, adding: "Our cultural practices have shown that a farmer who wants to rear animals would prefer to have the money given to him or her rather than the animals being given to him or her."

"You should not be surprised that the animals would never be bought for rearing and no account could ever be rendered to you as how the money was spent. Eventually everything collapses," he explained. He said these practices affect the nation's agricultural production and that was why Ghanaians should be more objective in analysing economic and security situations.

Alhaji Mahama said, "Security and economic matters of the nation should not be sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics no matter which party was in government. If a party wins power and forms a government that government is for all Ghanaians and that bitterness and acrimony should be removed from the body politic of the nation."

He noted that if there was peace and the economy became buoyant every Ghanaian would enjoy in that prosperity irrespective of which party was in power. Alhaji Mahama said it was in this light that it was necessary to caution radio stations on some of their programmes, especially the phone-in segments, which could engender bitterness and acrimony.

Source: gna
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