Gov’t collapsing agricultural sector - Minority
The minority in Parliament has accused the government of collapsing the agriculture sector through poor policies and excessive importation of food products.
It again attacked the agriculture programmes outlined in the 2016 manifesto of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as being unrealistic and unattainable.
At a press conference in Parliament last Tuesday, the Minority Spokesperson on Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the record of the NDC?government in the last six years had been abysmal.
Therefore, he said, the agriculture programmes that the NDC?captured in its 2016 manifesto were calculated to deceive the public, since the targets could not be attained within the given periods.
For instance, he said, the “Green Revolution” that the NDC wanted to project would succeed only when there was assurance of adequate supply of services and inputs to farmers.
Dr Akoto said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has important projects to grow the agriculture sector when it gets the mandate from Ghanaians in the December 7 elections.
The press conference was to revisit the promises that the NDC?made in its 2012 manifesto, analyse the claims of achievements in agriculture from 2009 to 2016 and examine the 2016 manifesto of the NDC in relation to the agriculture sector.
Dr Akoto said from 7.4 per cent in 2008 and 7.2 per cent in 2009, agriculture growth slowed to 5.3 per cent in 2010 hitting the bottom of 0.8 per cent in 2011.
It then stayed down at 2.3 per cent in 2012, recovering somewhat to 5.7 in 2013 and then 6.4 per cent in 2014, he said.
Dr Akoto said the 2015 Budget Statement expected a 5.8 per cent growth in the agriculture sector, but the government achieved only 2.4 per cent growth for that year.
“The poor annual growth (3.5 per cent average in the last six years from 2010) in agriculture is just above half of the Malabo Declaration minimum target of six per cent per annum for all African countries,” he said.
The minority spokesperson said the poor growth performance of agriculture was reflected in sluggish growth in the production of the major staple food crops, meat, fish and in the decline of cocoa production.
Besides, he said, the poor performance was due to the escalation in the import of major action food items produced by the hardworking farmers of this country”.
He said based on data provided by the Ghana Statistical Service, it was confirmed that over the past eight years, both the volume and value of imports of food had gone beyond alarming proportions.
The NPP’s way forward
Dr Akoto said in the savanna zone, an NPP government would pursue the One-Village One-Dam policy, saying, “We believe in the concept of ‘small is beautiful’ in our approach to agricultural development.”
He said an NPP government would collaborate with commercial banks and use legislation to ensure adequate funding for farmers, fishers and their related activities of marketing and agro-processing.
“We shall provide incentives to increase substantially the supply of improved seeds to farmers and ensure adequate supply of appropriate fertilisers and extension services to boost farm productivity,” he said.
Dr Akoto said full details of the NPP’s agricultural development agenda would be revealed when the party launches its manifesto on October 9, 2016.